The fight for Christmas in the UK (until now) this year has two furry creatures leading their respective armies.
John Lewis has Moz, a furry monster to fall in love with. Read our review, and watch the commercial here.
And Marks & Spencer has a furry bear. A famous one, decked out in a recognisable pair of wellington boots, blue duffle coat and old red hat, obsessed with marmalade, and ever so polite. No points for guessing. Yes, it’s Paddington Bear.
“Paddington & The Christmas Visitor” hits all the right notes one has come to expect during this time of the year. There’s hardly any direct reference to the brand or the sheer horde of stuff you can buy from the brand’s stores. It’s very gooey, warm, and is sure to make even the coldest hearts smile (it made me chuckle). It also shows off StudioCanal’s excellent cinema skills that bring Paddington Bear to life on our screens. And that is the bigger story here.
It’s no secret that there’s a new Paddington movie (the second in the Paddington trilogy) out in the UK. It’s titled “Paddington 2”, and it hit theaters last weekend. The first round of marketing coupled with favourable reviews have ensured people flocking to the cinemas. Now, as any cinema marketer would tell you, the movie needs a long, sustained push to draw in audiences over the next few weeks.
Enter Marks & Spencer with an excellent historical property that’s bound to get eyeballs, and you have a perfect match.
The retailer gets to use the rich character in not just a commercial, but also as for their extended Christmas campaign, which includes Christmas-themed merchandise (over 90 products, and there’s already a list of top 10 Paddington-themed gifts) and plush toys that can be bought to help charities (sorry, product already out of stock). And I’m sure StudioCanal are extremely happy releasing what can be perceived as a trailer or additional content that keeps Paddington in the spotlight.
It works. Plain and simple. Everyone’s happy. Well, almost everyone.
Marks & Spencer had an excellent commercial last year, where they championed women. “Christmas With Love From Mrs Claus” was an original story, and made excellent use of Christmas folklore. Watch it below.
Should M&S have gone the same way this year? Or was the chance of partnering with Paddington Bear too good an opportunity to give up? Could the retailer be counting on nostalgia to help drive sales? As the Financial Times said on November 8,
Like-for-like sales of clothing and homeware in the half year to September 20 were down 0.7 per cent, and even like-for-like food sales were down 0.1 per cent. Still, this suggests a slight improvement in clothing and home, as same-store sales in M&S’s clothing and home unit had been down 1.2 per cent in the first quarter. Food sales were evidently unchanged, after a first quarter decline also of 0.1 per cent.
Hmmm… Let’s hope M&S gets what it wants from Santa Claus this year. Paddington Bear, as always, is there to help.
Just one more thing. You can’t really put it past the creative brains at Grey London (that’s the agency behind the Paddington commercial) and M&S to be working hard on another ace up their sleeves in the event that ‘Paddington 2’ leaves theaters earlier than expected, leaving the doors open for more Christmas themed communication.