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Apple's Santa TV spot deemed best ad of holiday season

Apple's TV commercial depicting Santa Claus interacting with Siri on his iPhone 4S was named the most effective ad of the 2011 holiday season, and topped 34 other Santa-themed spots.

According to viewer reactions measured by TV ad analysis firm Ace Metrix and released on Friday, Apple's commercial collected enough points to be named the most effective ad during the crucial holiday season, beating out advertising veterans like Coca-Cola, Pillsbury and Nintendo, reports GigaOM.

The Santa Siri ad garnered 652 out of a possible 950 points, eight percent higher than other tech brands, from a group of randomly selected viewers who rated selected commercials by relevance, persuasion, watchability, information and other metrics. Ace Metrix says the reviewers are "representative of the U.S. TV viewing audience."

“It’s cute and funny,” Ace Metrix CEO Peter Daboll said of the iPhone maker's TV spot.

In general, companies that used Santa in their commercials performed above other ads in their repsective categories, proving Ace Metrix's point that "Santa sells." Old St. Nick was the star of at least 35 ads this holiday season.

Best Buy took away top honors for most effective campaign with its "Game On, Santa" series, which featured passive-aggressive moms outdoing the Jolly Red Elf by shopping at the big-box electronics store.

Apple's ad shows Santa interacting with the iPhone 4S, tasking Siri with a number of actions that show off the feature albeit with a tad of whimsy. A message from Mrs. Claus tells him to "go easy on the cookies," and the ad finishes with a humorous interpretation of Santa's upcoming schedule.

In usual Apple fashion the ad highlights the product first and foremost, though the introduction of Siri has made the company's traditionally wordless commercials more about interacting with the device instead of merely highlighting its physical attributes.

Since the iPod campaign, Apple's ads for its mobile devices have been fast-paced music video-like spots that mostly feature music by independent bands. However, Siri has offered a new opportunity to create commercials that are stark contrasts of previous iDevice ads, just as the company hopes Siri will set its products apart from the competition.