M&S Food is bringing back its Dawn French-voiced Christmas fairy for another year. Its Christmas TV ad – launched today – features the character teaching a pair of animated mittens about the season’s focus on food and family.
The mittens are voiced by actors and owners of Wrexham FC, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. It marks the first time McElhenney will have been associated with the M&S brand, while Ryan Reynolds has appeared in ads for the wider M&S brand dating back over a decade.
In addition to the narrative elements of the mittens gradually finding their way back to their owner – a young girl named Lilly – the ads feature hero shots of the M&S food range.
Sharry Cramond, marketing director of M&S Food, says: “There are a series of six ads that will be released [at] different points between now and New Year exploring all of the different products in the M&S Food range this year, and it culminates in the mittens being reunited with Lilly.”
She explains the success of the previous Christmas ad led the team at M&S Food to consider continuity in terms of advertising, rather than developing something entirely new. “Last Christmas was pretty award-winning – we were named by Kantar as having the campaign that was one of the most powerful and differentiated of all Christmas TV ads in the market. So why change a winning formula for this year? And the answer is – well, don’t change the winning formula this year.”
The tie-up with Reynolds and McElhenney comes as M&S reveals it is also now sponsoring Wrexham FC and is opening a store in the town in December. Robbie Black, head of food marketing, tells Marketing Week: “As ever, the food is the real star of the show, and Fairy and the Mittens are the magical guides to everything we have to offer. We’re sure that everyone will be excited about Ryan and Rob voicing the Mittens this year, and our wider partnership with Wrexham AFC, but we’re also sure people will be just as excited about our food”.
In addition to the headline TV campaign and its various iterations across social media, OOH and other media, the brand is partnering with footballer-turned-podcaster Peter Crouch for a social-led campaign highlighting M&S Food’s range of desserts and puddings.
M&S launched its clothing and home ad yesterday, featuring another host of celebrities, including Hannah Waddingham, encouraging the public to embrace only the things they love about the festive season.