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Technology that measures emotions by tracking facial expressions has adjudged The Coca-Cola Co's latest UK Christmas ad to be the most effective of the season.

The Holidays are Coming spot was the most engaging of 55 Christmas ads measured by Realeyes' facial-tracking technology, the company said today. The ad even scored in the top 4% of all commercials tracked by Realeyes, it said.

The tracking technology was originally developed at Oxford University and uses AI algorithms to track and interpret facial expressions as people watch video content. This year's Christmas study measured the emotional reactions of 3,300 people.

Coca-Cola's ad, which shows stars of TV show Gogglebox watching the well-known 'Holidays are Coming Coca-Cola' spot, beat Vodaphone and McDonald's Christmas offerings into second and third place, respectively.

Looking at all 55 ads, the Realeyes study showed that those with authenticity and humour proved to engage consumers the most. Romantic themes appeared in four of the top ten most engaging ads.

"Whilst the hype around Christmas ads has now become a national pastime, it's sometimes forgotten that their job is to help sell more products and people's emotional response plays a big part in where they decide to shop," said Mihkel Jäätma, Realeyes' CEO. "This year saw advertisers trying to be more authentic by using real-life situations, humour and romance to relate to people, which could be seen as a way to cheer them up via universal themes after what's been another divisive and turbulent year."

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