Is John Lewis’s TV advert driving its record sales?

On Monday, Neil Mortensen, Research & Planning Director at Thinkbox, tweeted the following:

Record sales for John Lewis last week, biggest week ever. #tvworks

This drew a wry retweet from John Willshire of Smithery.

The same must be true for all last week’s ads then? 😉

It’s true. Claiming success of TV advertising for a record sales week two weeks before Christmas is somewhat glib. Imagine the following fictitious tweet from Standard Fireworks on 6 November.

Record sales for Standard last week. Biggest week of the year so far. #tvworks

While the evidence may indeed be there for TV advertising driving John Lewis’s record sales, the implication was that their high sales were wholly a result of the much-lauded TV ad. I expect that most companies tailoring their offerings to the Christmas market have seen increased, indeed record, sales over the last few weeks.

Stripping out seasonality is important, as is stripping out the effect of other media. Otherwise, statements such as these either artificially elevate the impact of TV advertising; or else are treated with the important pinch of salt that they warrant.

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