M&S goes back to food porn for ‘fancy pants’ Christmas ’20

In the absence of Christmas parties, and with limited gatherings looking likely on Christmas Day itself, Marks & Spencer has gone for the “eat, drink and be merry” message this year, with some charity and celebs thrown in for good measure.

Grey London has taken the retailer safely back to its old “food porn” days, complete with the familiar “Albatross” by Fleetwood Mac soundtrack.

One ad is scheduled to break each week until the big day. The first is voiced by Olivia Colman, who declares “Cor what a year” and lovingly describes the “fancy pants” beef and porcini Yorkshires, the gin liqueur with edible gold leaf, and the “big finale,” triple chocolate panettone.

Each of the celebs gets to nominate charities to benefit from the donations of M&S and its customers. Colman’s turn is followed by spots voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Eddie Redmayne, Gillian Anderson, Dame Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons, Dame Julie Walters, Naomie Harris, and Tom Hardy.

M&S ditched the idea of a clothing ad entirely for Christmas 2020, although Holly Willoughby is still on board for a social push. Last year’s was created by fashion agency Odd and urged us all to perform a Beyoncé-style dance routine.

This week the retailer reported its first loss in 94 years as a publicly-listed company, with clothing sales – as well as jobs and store closures – affected by Covid-19. In some better news, though, the start of its tie-up with Ocado in September has seen a 47.9% jump in food sales.

MAA creative scale: 5.5

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall
Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.