John Lewis went the heartwarming, emotional route for Christmas, while Boots and Waitrose took more down-to-earth approaches. Now, Marks & Spencer eschews its celebrity focus of the recent past to go full-on fantastical to celebrate the season.
The retail chain has launched a glitzy, multi-faceted extravaganza via RKCR/Y&R that asks Brits to search the skies for bringers of yuletide cheer. I'm not talking about Santa and his reindeer, but Magic and Sparkle, two fairies who float overhead, dispensing joy wherever they go.
The characters star in a big-budget 90-second spot directed by Philippe Andre via Independent Films. Julie London's swingin' version of "Fly Me to the Moon" provides the soundtrack as the winged pair work wonders, transforming mundane gifts, and ordinary clothes hung out to dry, into fancier fare—presumably available at M&S stores.
They also engage in some matchmaking, return a lost cat to its owner and—in an odd dash of working-class whimsy—punch timecards to mark their enchanted day. (Do sprites have a union?)
"The magic of Christmas is how it brings out that little part in all of us that wants to believe in the extraordinary," says Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director of marketing at M&S. "It's a moment to escape the realities of every day and give in to the joyfulness of the festive spirit. We wanted to capture that feeling."
The campaign was heavily teased on Twitter using the #FollowTheFairies hashtag. And Magic and Sparkle have been appearing in various locations throughout the U.K., treating folks to cakes, cookies and cosmetics, and even covering a school building in Cornwall with "snow" for wintry pre-Xmas festivities.
Some might find this take on the holidays too contrived or self-consciously commercial. In my view, it seems well-suited to a time of year when—let's be honest—most folks are longing to receive presents of one kind or another.
Unlike John Lewis's penguin, M&S's fairies venture out into the real world and actually deliver!
Client: Marks & Spencer
Director: Philippe Andre
Production Company: Independent Films