Marks and Spencer Christmas Advertising

It is that time of year again. Christmas is but a few weeks away and this is the period when the big retailers start bombarding us with their festive sales offensives. Television adverts tempt us with the year’s must have toys and the supermarkets and department stores use great tunes and emotive imagery to fill us with festive cheer. Or do they? This year’s Marks and Spencer Christmas advert looks like a giant own goal to me. The struggling retailer could do with a boost but I don’t think they are going to get one with this somewhat strange production.

No Christmas Cheer

For a start this piece is not very Christmassy. Call me old fashioned but if a commercial is going to get me in the mood to splash out on Christmas then some festive imagery would be nice. What we actually get is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley falling down a hole in the street and instead of landing in a sewer she finds herself in Wonderland at a tea party featuring David Gandy and a rather sinister looking Helena Bonham-Carter. Having evidently lost her clothes on the way down, she is reunited with her wardrobe and then chased by some unpleasant looking playing cards through a gloomy wood.


After a journey on a magic carpet she then discovers of all things the Yellow Brick Road and some travelling companions before arriving at what is presumably Oz to encounter Ms Bonham-Carter again. What is the M&S message here? What should we all be rushing out to buy? A DVD of the Wizard of OZ, A Copy of Who’s Who to discover the origins of all those double barrelled names? You do get to see a few garments and accessories but the story line is so distracting that you don’t really register those. There is nothing warm, cuddly or festive about the advert at all. There is no uplifting soundtrack to put you in the mood and I think young kids might actually find it all rather scary!


The retail giant heavily plugged the advert via social media before unleashing it on national television which may at least mean that some viewers were not totally bemused by it when it was first broadcast. Everyone else will probably be wondering what they have just witnessed. These days many people have the ability to skip the ads by watching recording of their favourite programmes. It is, therefore, interesting that ads now have trailers on social media to induce you to watch. I suppose this commercial is at least memorable but that isn’t necessarily a call to action. I personally hate commercials and do everything in my power to avoid having to watch them but sometimes I get caught unawares! When I do, the odd work of art does stick in the memory for the right reasons. You can’t help being drawn in by the uplifting renditions of great tunes put out by and the enchanting imagery of the Christmas Coca Cola ads always strike a chord. The Marks and Spencer Christmas ad, however, is actually off-putting!

I don’t want Christmas in a sewer or a strange fantasy world where I am chased by cards and haunted by Helena Bonham-Carter. I certainly don’t want to live in fear of my clothes falling off leaving me parading around in my lingerie or nightwear. I am sure that M&S have some lovely things for Christmas but I just don’t think that this ad is the thing that will make people rush out to buy them.


Article by Sally Stacey

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