Walmart Holiday Spot Tops Survey

Walmart is ranked No. 1 on the National Retail Federation’s annual “Shoppers’ Favorite Holiday Ads” survey, displacing rival Target for the first time in three years.

Target has held the top spot each year since 2006, when the survey was first created. (It is conducted by BIGresearch on behalf of the Retail Advertising Marketing Association, a division of the NRF.) The survey asked more than 9,900 consumers to name their favorite holiday TV ad.

Rounding out the top 10 this year were Best Buy, Gap and Macy’s, among others. (See the complete list here.) Hallmark made the list for the first time this year, while Toys ‘R Us completely disappeared. (The brand ranked No. 10 last year.) Gap, which was No. 4, also appeared on the list for the first time since 2006.

Old Navy has been aggressive with its “Supermodelquins” holiday campaign, so it’s no surprise that it climbed up to No. 6 (from No. 9 last year).

Meanwhile, Macy’s also ranked high at No. 5, having updated its “Believe” campaign this year, starring Queen Latifah in “Yes Virginia” TV spots.

The overall outlook for retailers was more positive this year, but the impact of the recession was still visible. The NRF predicts a one percent drop in consumer holiday spending to $437.6 billion this holiday season. Retailers, too, have ordered less inventory and have aggressively discounted prices to entice shoppers to spend.

In this price-conscious environment, however, retailers are actually trying a mix of strategies to win over consumers. Holiday ads this year range from “nostalgic” to “price focused,” said NRF rep Ellen Davis. Walmart, for instance, is one company that’s “really diversified,” she said. Davis cited recent TV spots, such as the one where a little boy wishes snow on Christmas for his father serving in Iraq. Retailers, Davis added, “have really been able to divide and conquer this holiday season.”

When asked whether holiday advertising actually persuaded consumers to shop at certain stores, 16.8 percent of consumers said “yes.” Meanwhile, 32.8 percent of respondents said there was “no effect,” as they shop at the stores anyway. Coupons, too, dominated the list, followed by word-of-mouth, advertising inserts, newspapers and direct mail.