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M&S Christmas Ad 2013


Posted by Creative Review, 5 November 2013, 15:01    Permalink    Comments (48)

Interesting times for Marks & Spencer as it unveils its blockbuster Christmas TV ad on the same day as some pretty bleak sales figures are announced. Will Rosie and her ever-changing array of undies right the ship?

M&S announced its ninth consecutive quarter of falling sales today so will be more reliant than ever on the ability of its Christmas advertising campaign to shore things up. Agency RKCR/Y&R have put model/actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley front and centre in a fantasy treatment which references Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz and also features Helena Bonham Carter

It's beautifully made as you might expect with exquisite production values and gorgeous sets but perhaps doesn't have the 'all things to all ages' appeal of previous M&S Christmas efforts.

There's a plethora of extra content around it, including the inevitable 'making-of'


Agency: RKCR/Y&R
CD: Mark Roalfe
Creatives: Pip Bishop and Chris Hodgkiss
Director: Johan Renck through Black Label Productions
Post: MPC
Music: Guy Farley, Native
Edit house: Work
Editor: Art Jones


i love how instead of going down the rabbit hole, she goes down the sewer ... a bit like M&S really ...
tim sinclair
2013-11-05 15:45:25

I'm being a total scrooge but I found this ad soooo cringeworthy. Poor old mute Rosie Huntingdon Wotsit and her porno boyfriend. I'm so glad M&S thought they should give us a 'Making of' video so we can learn how the pair have worked together before and had 'a few laughs'. The thought that there's people out there that look forward to seeing the M&S Xmas ad is quite scary.

Why 2 references? Seems a bit of an odd number - bit like 2 ads, could they not agree which to go for? I mean, why not just reference 1 or do a big medley of fantasy tales.

The sets are lovely but considering they talk about how important it is that they do it all in camera I don't feel they've been very clever about it. For example, when RHW falls down the sewer (she hilariously needs help with this - see vid) and when the woman throws the playing cards. Even the carpet's a bit like the escalator's broken at one of their stores.

Helena Bonham Carter is fun though.
Nicholas Maroussas
2013-11-05 21:16:20

Magical! releases the inner curious child and the imagination, we all need some of this at this time of year and I feel like shopping at M&S just to thank them for this creative gem. Thank you M&S :)
2013-11-06 09:55:22

Would be a hell of a lot more charming if they'd used normal people and not models.
2013-11-06 11:13:58

At 1.34 – really? That's the doorbell they chose to include?
Ed Wright
2013-11-06 12:02:35

Boy, she can act can't she?
Paul Machin
2013-11-06 13:54:05

Christmas supermarket ads tend to be hackneyed affairs, and this is just that. Given the money related issues many people are suffering at the moment, I doubt a trip to M&S is on the cards. For those who hate hanging around poor people, it's ideal.

Anyway, it's a step above those mind crushingly awful adverts they ran in the past, "This isn't a Christmas Cake, this is an M&S chocolate double topped creamtabulous cake, crafted by the hands of Da Vinci himself via a time machine". Thank science for that.
Alex M.
2013-11-06 14:55:46

An attempt to rival John Lewis and their famous Christmas adverts? As Alex M says above, its better than their previous efforts. I think its quite charming, but the thing is I haven't been to M&S properly for about five years - their shops are pretty dowdy and not at all magical like the advert.
I would say - sort your shops out first as no amount of advertising can disguise a dated product.
Mitch Cunningham
2013-11-06 15:27:30

Fabulous -love it !! No expense spared !! But tut tut a PLASTIC doorbell on the Wizard's door -really!!!
2013-11-06 19:49:06

I think it was extremely entertaining running through various themes relating to classic tales. Very we'll put together and colourfull, loving the fact she keeps going down to her underwear and looks fantastic. Should up the sales of lingerie if nothing else...
Jamie Darkins
2013-11-06 21:24:05

Interesting - I did a press campaign this Summer for online retailer Brand Alley with copywriter Jo Beale our theme was Grown up Alice in Wonderland - it was in all the mainstream womens magazine, we did not have the M&S budget but our Alice was very similar!
Lynne Casey
Lynne Casey
2013-11-06 21:30:39

Love the creativity of this advert. The brains behind this advert deserve an Oscar! The seamless interjection between the scenes and fluidity of the story is just magical.
2013-11-06 22:55:32

What a bad choice of a doorbell.. it should be ornate and brass. Well done on the rest of the advert.
Shelly Galvin
2013-11-06 23:32:32

Total waste of time and money, unless M&S finally takes heed of what its once-loyal customer base says, and gets rid of the stupid piped music in all branches. Maybe then the customers who have deserted it for John Lewis, will return.
M&S shopper no more
2013-11-07 09:21:03

Btw digital content agency, Adjust Your Set did 'The Making of', interviews etc.
2013-11-07 12:12:15

Btw digital content agency, Adjust Your Set did 'The Making of', interviews etc.
2013-11-07 12:13:51

Thoroughly enjoyable advert which deserves creative applause. But does it really encourage any of us to switch from John Lewis as customers? I doubt it. At least it hasn't used a procession of "B list" celebrities.
2013-11-07 13:56:51

I love the m&s Christmas add let's hope you don't shorten it
maggie williams-bukac
2013-11-07 14:01:36

I think that it is one of the best adverts M & S have done. Traditional fantasy fairytales seem to be very on trend this season and the advert delivers imho. Actors are amazing, HBC is just so talented and brings something to everything she does. The issue is, does M & S deliver the products to match the quality of the advert?
Jo @ Guilty
2013-11-07 14:38:09

Totally gorgeous, great choice of people, superb!
2013-11-07 15:04:34

is this going to turn around M&S sales? I suspect not. This looks like a desperate company throwing money at a problem in the hope that this gets them out of a big hole. Nice sound track though.
mark blaylock
2013-11-07 17:14:48

This is a lovely Christmas ad, Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley is delicious and the whole ad is a Christmas dinner sized piece of eye candy. These M&S ads are a part of the Christmas experience and they have just raised their game with this one. Strategically I bet no different to any other year - create theatre and engage the customer in a fantasy that leads them to believe their Christmas will be all the better for shopping at M&S.
It may be at bit early bit I wish the more cynical commentators above a happier Christmas - looks like some are missing a bit of the old seasonal spirit.
Mark Dale
2013-11-08 00:04:40

I just want to say as a marketeer I think the advert is fantastic. I always look forward to the xmas ads and it is instantly recognisable to m&s

Love the ad
2013-11-08 11:54:44

She loses her clothes not once, but twice - demeaning to women, won't be using M&S this Christmas
2013-11-08 12:54:58

George, they sell underwear. They're showcasing said underwear. Stop being such a prude
2013-11-08 13:54:08

This is a lovely Christmas ad, Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley is delicious and the whole ad is a Christmas dinner sized piece of eye candy. These M&S ads are a part of the Christmas experience and they have just raised their game with this one. Strategically I bet no different to any other year - create theatre and engage the customer in a fantasy that leads them to believe their Christmas will be all the better for shopping at M&S.
It may be at bit early bit I wish the more cynical commentators above a happier Christmas - looks like some are missing a bit of the old seasonal spirit.
Mark Dale
2013-11-08 18:23:37

What an awful advert. Long, protracted and boring. I never smiled once. It does not encourage me to shop at Marks and Spencers during the lead up to Christmas. Where was the Christmas joy and the REAL people!!
Take a look at Aldi's Christmas advert - now that puts a smile on your face!!
Diane Bridson
2013-11-08 19:26:31

I think everyone should wake up and smell the coffee , as the Canadians say , live in the real world , poverty , many people struggling to make ends meet , most people will depend on hand outs and second hand toys for their kids this Christmas , pensioners piling extra clothes to keep warm due to exsesive fuel rises , so yes aren't these rich celebrities , lucky to be paid excessive amounts of money to advertise in their multi million advert , maybe they may have gained a little more respect and (sales ) which that's what it's all about , if they had the courage to use normal everyday people out the street to advertise and offered the money to real needs to help the elderly and needy , I know it would have opened my eyes and touched my heart and gained a lot of respect to M&S not just from myself but probably to most ,
2013-11-09 01:00:58

What a load of whingers always picking fault. I thought it was great, loved it and if it makes you feel good for Christmas that is pretty good. As for 2 mins could get lost in it rather than the rubbish on tv at minute.
2013-11-09 01:50:42

Certainly better than the John Lewis ad this year. The Hare & the Bear?

Even Seth McFarlane's comedy short Beavers: the Assholes of the Forest made more sense
2013-11-09 19:39:50

Was it supposed to make us buy clothes?,none of them were shown close-up, other than a pair of red high heels perhaps M and S have given up on selling them and are going to launch into the film industry, if it was advertising a grown up Alice in Wonderland on at the Odeon or similar, it might have been Ok but I would just like to see an advert assuring me M and S were going back to quality clothing at affordable prices and not rubbish clothing at rip-off prices. I must be a dinosaur I know, but I still would like an advertisement to have a message I could understand. OK Marks, I'll be there for the Cranberry Sauce and Mince pies but you have lost the plot in the Clothing Market.
Barbara Lowndes
2013-11-09 23:40:08

@Nicholas maroussas "why 2 references?"
Um, I believe there are atleast 4. That I noticed anyway.
@Mark "would be a hell of a lot better if they used normal people and not models".
Really? Have you actually thought that through? Cos the theme is fairy tales and I don't wanna see the bloke from my pub and the woman who serves me canteen food flying around on matt together, as nice as they are.
I'm not that keen on Rosie Huntington whatever, but I love the creativity in this ad. It's very Tim Burton.
I just wish they would have done more with the Red riding hood reference other than walk down a hall way.
That guy would have made a damn sexy wolf.
2013-11-10 00:52:26

Brilliant advert, well done M&S!
Derek White
2013-11-10 22:09:58

@Mishmash yep you're right. I'm wrong. Little Red Riding Hood. Hansel & Gretel? Not sure what the flying carpet refers to. Aladdin? I think it's fair to say that Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz heavily dominate the ad though. For me, it is slightly unbalanced.
I also saw this ad on TV after commenting and it's a much improved experience to viewing online next to a corny 'Making of' video. I remember thinking the same about the Audi boxing ref ad - probably best to see an ad properly on TV before going to the trouble of criticising it online.
Still, I don't agree with some of the comments that just because brands throw something warm and fuzzy at us we have to love it and 'get in the spirit'. We are being sold to here, remember and I'm a bit too aware of that with this ad.
Nicholas Maroussas
2013-11-10 22:29:40

My little girl of 8 wanted to know why the lady was in her bra and pants ? Why mix a children's story with that when a man is fully clothed standing next to her complete rubbish. I suggest you look at John Lewis Christmas is about family's love children religion not people in underwear.
S Towey
2013-11-11 00:26:37

I too have abandoned M & S for next etc. Much better clothes for over 50's trendy ladies! Marks ad is not Christmassy enough (like their winter themed window dressing) no hint of Christmas, no trees, baubles, just a silly alice in wonderland, with a bloke who looks like Jason King aka Peter Wyngarde (those over 50 will know who I mean).
The shop's xmas decs are non-existent. At least Lidl's/J Lewis have old fashioned xmas dec's up. Gets you in the spirit of the season. I've looked at their xmas fare, its the same old stuff, football and tools giftsets for blokes, magnolia toiletries for women. Get something new and cheaper! Get better sizes in, instead of 10's and 22's. More 16 and 18's. Slippers are expensive and cheaply made.
Carol Mason
2013-11-14 08:36:57

As well as Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, I think we also had Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Aladdin, and The Subtle Knife. Anyone got any others? I quite like the advert because it's beautiful to look at, but it certainly doesn't encourage me to go into a store and buy their clothes.
Sherree Lawrence
2013-11-14 23:47:58

What is the music in the advert. I think I've heard it before????
2013-11-15 18:02:48

The advert is too long, annoying, pointless and cringeworthy. M&S would have done better to give the production money to Children In Need.
2013-11-16 14:49:17

New M&S advert thin girl in underwear when sizes in the stores are so biiiiiiggggggg, we are girls no interested on seeing bums and tits give us fitted clothes instead!!!!
2013-11-17 11:58:11

Can anyone help me to source the @SPARKLE' dog tag shown in the advert
W. Dolan
2013-11-20 12:50:46

i think the advert is wonderfull
2013-11-27 23:44:44

I am using this advert for a uni project, it captures the magic of Christmas while selling their products as that is their main aim to sell food, underwear, coats, dresses, shoes and more. They are 'normal' people they do as what the majority of the world do get up and go to work.
Sarah-Jane Smith
2013-12-09 12:36:03

I love M&S and the new advertising,Christmas is all about fantasy and this has it all lv it.
2013-12-13 15:59:47

Methinks a good advertising , going along with the spirit of Christmas. Now van ANYONE name the music in
Marks and Sparks FOOD advert? Its driving me nuts, and their on line site makes no mention.
2013-12-14 12:37:43

Can you please tell us to make Christmas delicious were is the song from I cannot find any feedback on it please can you find me the answer
2013-12-16 21:04:46

Absolutely loved David Gandy in your advert and of course the little white terrier along with Rosie. The music is fantastic, I now cannot get it out of my head and would like to know if I can buy a CD.

I must admit I was asleep when the advert first came on and I woke up to the sound of the music which I find delightful then when I saw David Gandy after Rosie had fallen down the manhole OMG I sat bolt upright with eyes wide open Perfect Perfect Advert thank you.

It would have been nice to see David and Rosie tucking into the delicious food in the current advert but understand pennies must be saved.

Well Done M&S Marketing. Merry Xmas to all and Hope next year will be a Prosperous one.

Susan Rosina Major
2013-12-18 09:00:00

the ad looks like my everyday won't make me buy from M&S ether.
2013-12-27 12:36:15

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