First there was Mrs M&S, the woman few aspire to be. Now there is Mrs Claus, the woman M&S think many would like to be this Christmas.
Marks & Spencer has tonight launched its Christmas advert for 2016, with Father Christmas’ wife as the star of the show. The advert was broadcast for the first time at 9pm on 11 November in the first ad break of Channel 4’s popular TV programme Gogglebox.
The three-minute video tells the story of Jake – aged six, but seven in two weeks – who writes to Mrs Claus (played by Janet McTeer) in the North Pole asking for a favour.
Jake wants some sparkly red shoes for his sister, Anna, to replace a pair ruined by his dog, Tiger.
After sending her husband off with snacks – tea and a cheese and pickle sandwich – a hot water bottle and some words of advice (“drive safe… don’t forget Australia”), Mrs Claus sets to work on making Jake’s wish come true, travelling to London by snow, jet ski and helicopter (think the Queen in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony).
Mr Claus returns from his shift none the wiser, to find his wife asleep and curled up on the sofa with a book, disturbingly named Fifty Shades of Red.
The film was created by RKCR/Y&R and directed by Oscar-winning Tom Hooper, with the music composed by Rachel Portman.
Leaving a preview of the advert earlier, I was asked what I thought of the video. “Good.”
Did I shed a tear? “No.” Certainly not.
But will my mum cry when she sees it? “Yeah. Maybe, yeah.”
Actually, I was being polite – there’s no chance of that: Mrs Turvill doesn’t have time to watch three-minute Christmas adverts in early November and then weep over them.
But the question was telling. Much like a male M&S underwear model, this advert appears to be, primarily, one for the ladies. It might get the kids excited as well, but the advert’s main goal appears to be to tempt Britain’s army of Mrs M&Ses into giving their families the best Christmas ever.
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In the words of Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director of customer, marketing and M&S.com:
Mrs Claus is the result of thousands of conversations that we had with our customers to understand what they want from M&S – which is warmth, empathy and a touch of humour presented in a modern and contemporary way.
She epitomises the huge efforts our customers put in to making the festive season special and represents the love and togetherness that customers want to feel and see in abundance at Christmas.
The Mrs Claus campaign doesn’t end here, either.
M&S, launching the social media tag #LoveMrsClaus, has said its store teams will be carrying out 15,000 “acts of Mrs Claus kindness” in the run-up to Christmas, including giving away free coffee (take note, Waitrose) and providing a “party makeover for a customer in need of a pick-me-up”.
Hopefully all of the reluctant Mrs M&Ss out there, especially those who might not have access to helicopters, won't feel too pressured into living up to the high standards of Mrs Claus this winter.