ADWATCH: M&S backs range of Christmas goodies with star appeal

The high-street giant spins a star-studded fairy tale to promote all its Christmas wares. Sam Solley reports.

Marks & Spencer's latest campaign features a host of celebrities promoting the festive benefits of an M&S Christmas. The ad appears in this week's Adwatch table at number five, with a recall of 67%.

Created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, it gives a taste of the wide variety of gift ideas on offer in the store.

The 50-second execution features celebrities dressed as fairy-tale characters in a pop-up book called 'Once Upon A Christmas'.

Singer Emma Bunton plays a Cinderella figure wearing lingerie, while TV presenter June Sarpong is cast as Little Red Riding Hood, distracting a wolf with roast turkey and champagne .

Pop Idol winner Will Young appears as Prince Charming, although he is more interested in Sleeping Beauty's quilt than the maiden herself.

Actress Zoe Wanamaker appears as a wicked queen, asking her refection "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?", only to be told "I am ... but I like your shawl".

Actor Patrick Stewart, who provides the voiceover, appears in the final scene. A curtain is pulled back to reveal him reading the tale by a roaring fire, as he delivers the final line: "And all too soon I must bid you farewell with magic and sparkle, this will be an enchanting Noel."

Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/ Y&R managing director James Murphy says: "Our strategy is to make M&S the best high-street destination for Christmas. The celebrities give a broad and populist appeal and create the feeling that M&S owns Christmas, despite having only run Christmas ads for three years."

The work runs until Christmas Eve. In-store media accompanies the TV ads. Media buying and planning is by Walker Media.

Due to the growing relevance of satellite and digital channels to UK television advertising, Adwatch now incorporates ads launched on these channels. Any ads monitored from these channels will still go through the usual Adwatch criteria, but this new methodology ensures Adwatch presents the fullest possible picture of all TV campaigns as they break.

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