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Christmas advert season arrives on the box

THE Christmas ad season has arrived on television screens as retailers hope to end another difficult year with some festive cheer.

Big-budget campaigns from Asda, Iceland and Argos are screening from today and tomorrow amid predictions by the Advertising Association that businesses will spend a record £6.8billion on seasonal ads in the UK in the final quarter — up 4.7 per cent on last year’s record.

Argos’s clip will air to millions of viewers during ITV’s Coronation Street and Channel 4’s Gogglebox, opening with a father seeing that his daughter has circled a drum kit in the retailer’s Christmas catalogue, renamed the Book Of Dreams.

Characters from Disney’s Frozen 2 including Elsa, Princess Anna and Olaf will feature in Iceland’s Christmas advert (top), showing tonight at 8.15pm on ITV.

The exclusive animations created by Disney for Iceland, ahead of the film’s launch, will show the characters ‘magically’ appear during a family game of charades.

Asda’s two-minute ad screens for the first time during ITV’s The X Factor: Celebrity tomorrow night following a teaser during ITV weather this evening and tells the story of two children who spread Christmas magic throughout a village.

The ad was filmed in Tyldesley, Wigan, where in 2016 residents dubbed the Christmas tree in their market square the worst in the country for its ‘dead-looking’ appearance.

Advertising Association chief executive Stephen Woodford said: ‘Christmas is absolutely critical for retailers. A big part of that is the battle of the Christmas ad.

‘The British public love the Christmas ads. It makes everybody feel good about Christmas, and as a brand you want your campaign to be one of the favourites.

‘In the US they have the Super Bowl, in the UK it’s the Christmas ad. It’s where the big guns come out.’

However, previous studies suggest that Christmas campaigns have little if any impact on where the vast majority of consumers do their shopping.

A survey of 11,500 consumers in 2016 by shopping comparison website MoneySavingExpert.com revealed that just 1 per cent said the adverts had a ‘big impact’ on where they did their Christmas shopping, while 2 per cent said it had ‘an impact’.

One in 10 said the ads had a ‘rare impact’ on them and may have subtly influenced them once or twice, but 69 per cent said they had no impact whatsoever.

Depressingly for the industry, 6 per cent said they liked some of the adverts but could never remember who they were for, while 9 per cent said they were ‘turned off’ by the ads and deliberately avoided the stores behind them.