Will Paddington save M&S' Christmas? Retailer partners with iconic bear in a bid to boost its sales

Helen Cahill
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Ben Wishaw is the voice of Paddington in the advert (Source: M&S)

Marks and Spencer is desperately hoping to cheer us up with its Christmas advert this year, partnering with British icon Paddington Bear in a bid to pull in sales from a forlorn UK consumer.

Paddington 2 will be hugely popular with M&S customers (the only film more popular with M&S shoppers is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, apparently) and the retailer was thrilled when it was approached by producer Studiocanal to work on a Christmas ad featuring the marmalade-obsessed bear.

Read more: Argos starts Christmas ad season with mixed message on health and safety

In the ad, Christmas is in peril - a theme also explored in Argos' TV masterpiece - when a thief steals presents from a charming London neighbourhood.

Luckily, Paddington saves the day; he confuses the thief for Father Christmas and unwittingly forces him to return all the presents.

The film is a fitting metaphor for M&S' current predicament. Inflation, business rates and rising labour costs threaten to dampen the British chain's Christmas cheer.

M&S' brand and marketing director Rob Weston said the nation is "looking for positive signals" after a volatile year for the consumer, but he may have been talking more about himself than his customers.

Inflation is peaking and interest rates are on the way up, so it remains to be seen whether an advert alone will really sway how consumers spend this season. But M&S' executives will certainly be hoping Paddington's marmalade can spread some joy this winter.

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