Marks & Spencer's first holiday work through Grey London is a snow-filled, heartwarming ad featuring Paddington Bear, in a tie-up with the newly released movie "Paddington 2."
The spot places the animated bear from the film, voiced by actor Ben Whishaw, in a new story that sees Paddington finding a burglar on the roof of his house and mistaking him for Santa. Paddington's characteristic enthusiasm results in the hapless crook having to return all the gifts he's stolen, although he finally rediscovers the magic of Christmas for himself. True to the spirit of the books and films, Paddington ends up an unwitting hero-- though for having been seen with Santa, rather than capturing the burglar.
The spot will be shown in cinemas as the last ad before screenings of "Paddington 2" in a deal with Digital Cinema Media struck by Mindshare. Daniel Kleinman of Rattling Stick directed the spot, which features post production by Framestore.
The retailer will be publishing a storybook to go along with the ad, with all proceeds going to charity the NSPCC. There will also be a dedicated "Paddington" shop in 78 M&S stores, selling over 90 Paddington-themed products.
In using a much-loved children's book character to win over a Christmas audience , M&S is following in the footsteps of the Sainsbury's Christmas ad from 2015 featuring Mog the cat, while this year also sees Asda with an ad clearly inspired by another children's favorite, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."