9 November, 2017

A HEART-WARMING CHRISTMAS TALE FOR ALL THE FAMILY

Jingle bells start jingling when M&S launches its Christmas ad. And this year’s festive campaign brings Paddington to the screen, our stores and online. But not only does the campaign help to create a magical and memorable Christmas experience for those who shop and work in our stores, it also helps some of the UK’s most vulnerable children.

Why the Paddington theme? Christmas is for all the family, so is M&S, and the bear is a treasured family favourite. There’s Paddington 2 hitting our cinemas (we’re showing a 90-second version of the ad before every screening of the film). And of course our Head Office is based in Paddington, west London.

It made perfect sense to Rob, our Director of Brand & Marketing. “We’d been talking about using our family credentials to leverage growth,” he says. “We loved the notion of two major British icons coming together and Paddington was the ultimate family character. We researched the idea of using Paddington very early this year and people said it was their second all-time favourite film. It set us off on a great track.”

Patrick, our Executive Director of Customer, Marketing & M&S.com, shares Rob’s enthusiasm: “At M&S our customers are at the heart of everything we do and we know they love spending Christmas with family and friends. We couldn’t turn down the chance to bring Paddington into the heart of our Christmas campaign this year.”

The ad is called ‘Paddington and the Christmas Visitor’. Without wishing to spoil it for you (if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a charming story of heart-felt redemption), here’s a summary: Paddington wakes on Christmas Eve and stumbles across a burglar. Despite the burglar’s protest that he is ‘not Santa’, the innocent and good-natured bear helps him take the presents to where they belong. The burglar sees the error of his ways and a crisis is avoided for Paddington’s neighbours.

Rob describes our 2017 festive offering as “our most joined-up campaign ever”, and it’s easy to see why. There is a dedicated Paddington Shop in 78 M&S stores. These include selfie stations and house over 90 themed products, the majority in Kidswear – and naturally, Paddington’s favourite marmalade will be available in our foodhalls.

But the products also include the story of the advert priced at £3 and all profits from in-store and online sales will go to the NSPCC (there are also book-readings at selected stores). Dame Esther Rantzen, founder of the NSPCC’s Childline said: “For some vulnerable children and young people Christmas can be very difficult. We’re delighted to be partnering with M&S and Paddington to support Childline and raise awareness of the work we do. At only £3, the book is excellent value for money and the perfect Christmas gift.”

We’re also bringing Paddington to life in a fully integrated cross-channel campaign. The ad is being played on TV, social, in cinemas and on our own channels, and there is extra content on YouTube. And underpinning it all is social support encouraging customers to #LoveTheBear.

It’s going to be a Christmas to remember. So resist our mince pies for a minute – marmalade sandwich, anyone?

Inside M&S