A Real-time Christmas

In our last blog ahead of the Christmas break, Amy Harrod brings to light some of the insights from a mini “Pickles” project we have been running in the lead-up to Christmas.

Mustard has been engaged with 20 participants over the weeks leading up to Christmas, to gather festive feedback “in the moment”. Using Pickles, our mobile app for real-time qualitative research, we observed our participants as they experienced two key features of the Christmas countdown in the UK – festive food-on-the-go (i.e. the high street Christmas Sandwich), and TV advertising (to capture live feedback on the Christmas campaigns).

Let me take you back to early November, fireworks still whizzing overhead, the festive food offering has landed on the high street and social media is dominated by talks of the Christmas TV ads.

Our Pickles participants are briefed and ready to share their Christmassy critiques on the app, in-the-moment, as they live through each experience.

So, what did this year’s live festive feedback tell us?

Firstly, festive food-on-the-go

A Christmas butty used to mean a few slices of leftover turkey and a dollop of cranberry sauce but in 2018 the festive sandwich offering is broader than ever, with each food-on-the-go outlet serving up their own Christmas creation.

Plenty of our participants picked Pret…

A real-time Christmas - Mustard Research

And it seemed those crispy onions influenced people’s decision to purchase…

“That’s what swayed me to the sandwich!” Proclaimed one excitable woman as she peeled back the wrapper from her desk, “best thing about it.”

“I just wish the sandwich had the crispy onions that the baguette has” said another.

Not everyone loves something sweet in their sandwich and the lack of options on the high street, without cranberry sauce is disappointing…

“Stuffing is pretty good but there is very sweet jam in my sandwich. Please get it out.”

Another participant described her disappointment, as she perused the vegetarian options in Tesco… “Most veggie options have cranberry sauce, which I don’t like.”

And our veggie participants told us, there’s more to a Vegetarian Christmas than parsnips…

“The wrap is underwhelming, just tastes of parsnip. Could do with more flavour!” typed a Tesco customer as she tucked into the Vegetarian Christmas Wrap offering.

Another disgruntled veggie in Pret, claimed the calorific Christmas option was a turn-off…

“655 calories is a bit excessive for lunch / a butty!”

As a nation we love a Christmas cheese board, and Arla is predicting that Britons will fork out £2bn on cheese this Christmas. Our nation’s love of cheese stretched to sandwiches and supermarkets would be advised to ensure their shelves are stocked up…

“There are not enough brie options this year,” said one participant, in a frustrated state in Sainsburys, “Where are the Brie and Christmas trimming sandwiches?!”

When our participants weren’t sharing their lunch break with us, they were inviting us into their living rooms, to take in a little telly. So what did they really think about this year’s Christmas TV ads?

Whilst John Lewis had redeemed themselves for some,

“It’s not quite the ‘John Lewis’ standard from a few years ago but has made me forgive them for the last two bad ones. It was quite heart-warming.”

Others felt Elton, just wasn’t Christmassy enough…

“I suppose it doesn’t feel that Christmassy. I’d say a 6 on the Christmassy scale,” said one viewer.

Another participant, furiously typing from the sofa, proclaimed,Not Christmassy at all!!!” adding, “Boring, irrelevant, bleak!” to her review.

M&S also left our participants wanting more sparkle…

“Probably the blandest Christmas ad I’ve seen so far!” complained one participant.

Some thought it lacked the impact and creativity of last year’s ad…

“M&S usually do good adverts too. Particularly the Mrs Claus ad last year. But this year’s ad just feels like any old department store.”

Is it time that Kevin’s contract was up at Aldi? One viewer seemed to think so…

“Just seen the Aldi advert and I have to say, I really don’t give a toss if carrots are being hard-done to by a parsnip of all things. Just get them all in the pan. Disappointed and time they ditched their ad agency methinks!”

And just when we thought we’d recruited a group of Grinch’s, this happened ….

A Real Time Christmas

“So far… the best Christmas advert!!! I might say, ever!! So many moments of tears, laugh out loud and aww moments! Top song, individual, completely captures the spirit of all things Christmas. It’s wonderful!”

A Real-time Christmas

“It’s the little details like this (plug boy) that make you want to re-watch”

Well done Sainsburys!

Pickles was created by the research team at Mustard and can be used for whenever you want to get closer to the truth and witness genuine behaviour in real-time. Clients including, Carlsberg, Princes, Greggs, New Balance and Seabrook have all recently used Pickles to gather real-time insight.

Do you need in-the-moment feedback or would just like to experience a demo for yourself? Get in touch with Amy at amy.harrod@mustard-research.com or call 0161 235 5270.