Like a tough dad, Sears' holiday spot gets emotional only about tools

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Craftsman ad scores well with viewers by focusing on products, not feelings, says AceMetrix.

The holiday ads most commonly featured in the media supply a heavy dose of emotion, but do little to advance interest in a specific product or drive desire to buy. Sears' 2016 Holiday spot, "Craftsman Grip Tools," combines nostalgia with information in such a way to drive purchase intent, while also making an emotional connection with the viewer. That's quite a feat for a holiday ad.

In terms of overall score, this minute-long spot lands in the top 11 percent of all retail holiday ads we've seen this season. More impressive, the ad has the highest Desire score, and is in the top 3 percent of that group for Information. The Ad Personality graphic below shows that the ad excels in driving product passion and communicating information, and is found likeable by viewers.

Scores | Ad Personality

While many holiday ads leverage strong visuals or a heavy-handed message, Sears relied on brand image as the driving creative force. Thirty-one percent of viewers said the Brand was the Single Best Thing about the ad, and 17 percent said the Product. The Message also stood out, though viewers often referred to product quality in this regard. "I like the fact that Craftsman are durable and have a lifetime warranty. I don't think this is a new direction or message, as I have always thought this was Craftsman's message," commented a 36- to 49-year-old male.

Sears connects with viewers by weaving a relatable element throughout this informational ad. It's not heavily emotional, yet the concept of generations using Craftsman tools clicked with viewers.

  • "I enjoyed the ad because it reminded me of doing things with my father and son. There was a personal connection with the characters. Also, I can identify with the use of the tools featured in the ad because they would address problems that I have had while working with different things." – M50+
  • "I enjoyed the relatable scene of the father and son, passing on "tools of the trade" from generation to generation. I liked the story, and then I also learned more in depth about the tools being sold without having too much information on the ad." – F21-35
  • "I have used craftsman tools since I was a boy helping my father work on the family car and things around the house. This ad brought me back to those days, and reminded me of the quality of Craftsman tools, and to update my tool box." – M50+

The combination of clearly delivered brand information–from pricing to product details and a personal connection–helps drive purchase intent for the brand. When asked how likely they are to purchase this brand after viewing the ad, 68 percent said they were somewhat to much more likely to purchase. For holiday advertising, this is impressive and bodes well for any brand. The word cloud below comes straight from comments of these viewers, demonstrating what stood out to this group.

Viewer's Voice – Increased Purchase Intent

Some examples:

  • "It was relatable and a great holiday ad. Emphasized things that are important to me, durability, replaceable for free, used by generations, so my kids could still get good use out of them." –  F36-49
  • "This ad made me add the Craftsman tools to my Christmas list for my husband. I truly had not even considered it until the ad showed how the product works and compared to another. Good job!!" – F36-49
  • "I really like this ad. I learned about some new products that I may actually be interested in buying. I thought the ad was straightforward and contained good information." – M36-49

Viewers also commented on the subtle tone of the ad, alluding to the fact that loud, high-energy holiday ads may not always have their desired effect. A handful of comments indicated viewers would have liked to see the father teaching the son how to use the tools, but other than that, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. This is the type of holiday ad other brands may want to emulate to break free of the pack.