M&S bids for most social Christmas yet with ‘Follow the Fairies’ campaign

Marks & Spencer’s is hoping to make this Christmas its most social ever with the launch of a “Follow the Fairies” campaign that will gift random acts of kindness to the public.

The retailer has revealed it was behind the Twitter-based duo, @TheTwoFairies, who have been travelling around the country offering gifts to unsuspecting members of the public for the past week. Working with agency Unity, the acts included gifting snow to Landewednack Primary school in Cornwall, treating workers on a long hospital night shift and rescuing rain-soaked commuters with a free umbrella.

The two fairies, named Magic and Sparkle, will also appear in the retailer’s TV campaign this year. Set to the classic song “Fly Me to the Moon”, the ads show the two fairies clocking in for a day’s work at the fairy factory, where they must bring a smile to the faces of unsuspecting people.

This includes bringing snow to children stuck indoors watching TV, adorning a washing line full of drab clothes with new party wear and sparking love between a lonely couple.

The ad, created by RKCR/Y&R, goes live on social media today (7 November) ahead of its premiere during the X Factor on Saturday. A food ad will follow with a similar theme, while further iterations to promote both its food and clothing businesses will run until Christmas.

Marks & Spencer reintroduced its Magic & Sparkle strapline for its festive campaign last year, but M&S’s executive director of marketing and international, Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, said the retailer wanted to take the theme a step further this year. Speaking at an evening in London today to unveil the campaign, he said the aim is to inspire consumers as they enter the festive period and help them to escape every day realities.

Focus on social

M&S is hoping this will be its most social Christmas yet and it has diverted some of its marketing budget this year into pushing the campaign on its social media channels and on digital. So far, the @thetwofairies Twitter account has more than 11,000 followers, some M&S customers, some not.

Bousquet-Chavanne told Marketing Week the campaign provided a great way for the retailer to speak not only to its core customers but also to those that might not already be following it on social media. He said the retailer has been overwhelmed by the response on Twitter to The Two Fairies and how members of the public have put other people up for the opportunity to receive a gift and been performing their own acts of kindness too.

“It is amazing what two fairies with no label behind them can do. We can’t cure the problems of the world but we can brighten up the lives of the people we help in small meaningful ways,” he said.

The campaign has so far focused on social media, with M&S listening to its followers to find people to help, but it will now transfer to stores as well. For example M&S will be putting a surprise in people’s shopping bags, while store staff will be encouraged to come up with ideas that fit the theme.

M&S will hope the campaign can garner as much interest as John Lewis’ Christmas ad, which went live on social media yesterday. The ad, which features the story of a young boy Sam and his penguin friend Monty, has already been watched 4.2 million times on YouTube while the @montythepenguin Twitter account has more than 14,700 followers.