The advert, entitled ‘Paddington and the Christmas Visitor,’ made its debut on TV and social media last Tuesday (November 7). It is a festive, family focused tale that tells the story of how Paddington (voiced by English actor Ben Whishaw) unknowingly saves Christmas for his friends and neighbours.
Explaining the plot, the retailer said: ‘It’s Christmas Eve at Windsor Gardens and Paddington is fast asleep. But his dreams of marmalade are interrupted by a loud thud on the roof. Upon investigation, he stumbles upon a burglar. Despite the intruder’s protests that he is not Santa, the determined and good-natured bear begins to ‘help’ him deliver the presents back to where they belong.
‘Seeing the good in everyone, Paddington innocently helps the burglar see the error of his ways. And as they place presents into personalised stockings and pause for mince pies, he unknowingly averts a crisis and ensures a truly special moment for neighbour Alice, and a happy Christmas for all.’
In a first for M&S, the story of the advert has been turned into a children’s Christmas storybook available in stores and online for £3. All profits will be donated to the NSPCC to help fund its Childline service over the Christmas season.
To launch the book, M&S is hosting a series of book readings for children at stores around the UK, which kicked off at its flagship Marble Arch store in London last Friday (November 10).
Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director of customer, marketing & M&S.com said: “Paddington has enchanted children and families all over the world for nearly 60 years which is why we couldn’t turn down the chance to bring the wonderfully endearing, much-loved British character and his world into the heart of our Christmas campaign this year.
“We always want to surprise and delight our customers and the timing is perfect as we partnered together just ahead of the release of ‘Paddington 2’.” This is a reference to the family film which went on general release last Friday. M&S’ media partner, Mindshare, has worked with Digital Cinema Media to ensure the 90-second advert is shown before the start of every screening of ‘Paddington 2’.
In 78 stores, M&S is hosting a dedicated shop to support its Christmas advertising campaign. Bespoke signage leads customers to The Paddington Shop, which houses over 90 themed products. The bear will also be the first ever film character to star in M&S’ Christmas windows.
Next month, a team of in-store ‘Moment Makers’ will be surprising and delighting customers with Paddington-themed ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ – from a free marmalade sandwich in the café, to a Paddington chocolate at the till.
For almost 60 years, British-born writer Michael Bond has been entertaining children and families all over the world with his stories about Paddington, the bear from Darkest Peru famous for his love of marmalade.
In recognition of Paddington’s popularity and success, Michael Bond was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) from the Queen for services to children’s literature in 1997 and a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2015.
Today, there are over 150 Paddington book titles available in 40 languages and in more than 100 countries, book sales are in excess of 35 million. The Paddington DVD released in 2015 was the fastest and selling DVD of that year in the UK. Paddington has a growing online presence with over 600,000 Facebook fans and over 20,000 Twitter followers.