In Depth

Paddington Bear this year’s star of M&S Christmas advert

Retailer follows John Lewis’ lead as battle of the Xmas advertisements gets under way

Paddington Bear has been revealed as this year’s star of the Marks and Spencer’s Christmas advert.

The 90-second advert called Paddington and the Christmas Visitor, which took four months to create, “sees the animated movie version of the duffle-coat-wearing bear inadvertently save Christmas for his neighbours,” reports The Daily Telegraph.

Mistaking a bearded burglar wearing a red coat and red stocking on his head for Santa, Paddington assists him in returning all of the stolen presents back to where they belong.

“Scoffing the odd mince pie along the way, he innocently helps the thief embrace the true spirit of festive period and recognise the error of his ways,” adds the paper.

M&S has “followed the John Lewis festive playbook with a Paddington Bear-fronted Christmas campaign that embraces instore events, cuddly toys and a charity tie-in,” says The Guardian.

“Paddington and the Christmas Visitor” will be linked to 90 products including a £12 soft toy version of Paddington and a £42 duffel coat. An expected £200,000 in profits from one of the items – a £3 book – will go to the NSPCC to help fund its Childline service.

The retailer will host children’s book readings in store and encourage staff to carry out “random acts of kindness” such as free marmalade sandwiches in the cafe.

M&S’s global brand and marketing director, Rob Weston, said the retailer wanted an advert that appealed to the whole family and that was “fun” after a year packed with “lots of unsettling news”.

“People are looking forward to escaping into the Christmas bubble, and our aim is to provide you with a story that is charming and leaves you feeling good at the end,” he said.

The M&S campaign will make its TV debut today alongside the Pride of Britain awards on ITV. The ad will also be shown before cinema screenings of Paddington 2, which opens in British cinemas later this week.

Declining to comment on the cost of the advert, Weston said it is “down on last year”, and described the release of retailers’ Christmas campaigns as “UK advertising’s SuperBowl time”, in which you “have to stand out from the crowd”.

With the Christmas advert from John Lewis yet to be unveiled, Mr Weston said they are confident their offering will win the race between the retail giants.

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