M&S Paddington Bear and the Christmas Visitor

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is running a tie-in advertising campaign featuring Paddington Bear for Christmas 2017. At the heart of the campaign is a television commercial, “Paddington and the Christmas Visitor”, in which Paddington unwittingly saves Christmas for his friends and neighbours. It’s Christmas Eve at Windsor Gardens and Paddington is fast asleep. However, his dreams of marmalade are interrupted by a loud thud on the roof. Upon investigation, he stumbles upon a burglar and despite the burglar’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.

Paddington Bear in M&S Christmas 2017 commercial

“Paddington and Christmas Visitor” has been turned into a children’s Christmas storybook available in stores and online. All profits will be donated to the NSPCngC to help fund its vital Childline service over the Christmas season. M&S is hosting a series of book readings for children at stores around the UK – starting at its flagship Marble Arch store on Friday (10th November).

The campaign retains the philosophy of M&S’ ‘Spend it Well’ brand platform launched earlier this year – encouraging customers to focus on the people, experiences and things that matter to them most, something that is never more important than at Christmas. Paddington, who is named after the famous area of London where M&S is also based, will take a lead role in helping the retailer create a series of special moments for its customers and the communities it serves through partnership activity.

Paddington Bear in M&S Christmas 2017 commercial

Cinema Tie-In

The campaign launch coincided with the world premiere of the StudioCanal and Heyday Film feature film Paddington 2. M&S’ media partner, Mindshare, have worked with Digital Cinema Media to ensure the 90 second advert is shown before the start of every screening of Paddington 2. M&S is also running dedicated screenings of the film for Sparks members and their children, as well as in the ten communities it’s supporting through Plan A 2025.

Paddington In-store

For the first time M&S will host a dedicated campaign shop to support its Christmas advertising campaign. Bespoke signage will lead customers to The Paddington Shop – housing over 90 themed products, the majority in kidswear, and of course Paddington’s favourite marmalade will be available in M&S Foodhalls. In another first, the iconic bear will be the first ever film character to star in the M&S Christmas windows. In to December, M&S’ 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 cheeky Paddington chocolate at the till.

Paddington Bear in M&S Christmas 2017 commercial

Online and Social

The retailer will bring Paddington’s iconic character to life for customers in a fully integrated cross channel campaign. The much-loved bear will take part in his first ever interview for M&S’ content hub Style & Living and there’ll be downloadable festive marmalade recipes suitable for all the family. Underpinning the entire campaign will be social support encouraging customers to #LoveTheBear.

Dame Esther Rantzen, founder of the NSPCC’s Childline said, “Christmas is an exciting time of year, but for some vulnerable children and young people it can be very difficult which is why Childline is there for them 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. This, of course, requires a great deal of funding, which is why we’re delighted to be partnering with M&S and Paddington to support the Childline service and raise awareness of the work we do. At only £3, with all profits going to the NSPCC, the book is excellent value for money and the perfect Christmas gift.”

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, Executive Director of Customer, Marketing & M&S.com said: “At M&S our customers are at the heart of everything we do and we know they love the magic of Christmas, most of all spending time with family and friends. 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; the timing is perfect as we’re partnering together just ahead of the release of Paddington 2.”

Rob Weston, Brand & Marketing Director at M&S said: “Paddington injects the sense of joy, love and neighbourly spirit that makes Christmas feel magical and our story reflects the inclusive, make the most of every moment approach that we take to our customer conversations.”

Vicki Maguire, Chief Creative Officer at Grey London said, “Two British icons coming together in a story of heart-felt redemption, at a magical time of year, is the brief that dreams are made of. Customer expectations for Christmas campaigns are always high, and for M&S this has never been truer than now following the positive response to ‘Spend it Well’. We cannot wait to see and hear the reaction as we spread the love, goodwill and marmalade this Christmas.”

M&S Paddington Bear Credits

Paddington and The Christmas Visitor campaign was developed at Grey London by chief creative officer Vicki Maguire, creative directors Jonathan Marlow and Henrik Ridderheim, copywriter Robert Greaves, art director Sam Daly, writer Simon Farnaby, senior producer Thea Every, assistant producer Serena Hodgson, assistant producer Leah Stolerman, group business director Katie Jackson, business director Lucy Kozak, account director Sophie Mattacott-Cousins, account manager Hannah Austin, account executive Alice Lowden, planning partner Jonny Ng, senior planner Sarah Oberman.

Filming was shot by director Daniel Kleinman via Rattling Stick with producer Johnnie Frankel, production designer John Ebden, costume designer Verity Hawkes, casting director Greg Kyle.

Editor was John Smith at Whitehouse Post.

Music was composed by Alex Baranowski at Wake The Town.

Post production was done at Framestore by VFX producer Chris Grey, VFX supervisors Ben Cronin and Jordie Bares Dominguez, executive producer Helen Hughes, senior VFX producer Christopher Gray, VFX coordinator Alexia Paterson, CG supervisor Charles Bayliss, compositing supervisor Leonardo Costa, modelling team Ismael Rodriguez, Izaak Pardey, Tim Gregson, texture artists Aaron Hunwick, Aaron Smith, Judit Somogyvari, Xuan Prada Gomez, lead rigger Greg Martin, rigger Leo Schreiber, animation lead Gez Wright, animators Ashley Reemul, Harry Smith, Joseph Henson, Joseph Kane, Steve Townrow, creature FX technical directors Abdelkader Nouar, Aleksandr Uusmees, Emma Thorpe, Hervé Siorat, Matteo Antona, FX lead Rafael Rey Camacho, FX TDs Deniz Cinar and Luis Fos, lighting TDs Andrea Biferi, Henrique Campanha, Emily Yang, Erasmo Torallas, Jorge Sanchez Ramirez, Mathias Cadyck, Robert Stipp, Uzma Curtis, William Alexander, Yifan Hu, lead environments artist Dave Early, digital matte painters Gerard Dunleavy and Lee Matthews, compositors Samantha Meisels, Heidi Dahle, Jack Fisher, Jacqui Lockley, Kane Herd, Matthew Thomas, Simon Stoney, Christian Baker, paint and Roto team Jonathan Williams and Reece McFarlane, VFX editor Richard Gao, Flame artists Paul O’Brien and George Roper, and colourist Steffan Perry.

Sound was produced at Wave Studios by sound engineer Jack Sedgwick.

Advert cast are Ben Whishaw (voice of Paddington), Mark Benton (burglar), Olivia Dixon (Alice), Mikey Dixon (Brother), Olivia Lee (Mum), Denver Isaac (Dad), Angela Rippon (Newsreader).

“Paddington and The Christmas Visitor”, the book, was written by Timothy Knapman and illustrated by Becky Cameron. The original story was written by Grey London with Simon Farnaby.