M&S unveils Xmas celeb ad

A host of celebrities including the former Spice Girl Emma Bunton and the Pop Idol winner Will Young stars in Marks & Spencer's Christmas campaign.

The commercial, created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, aims to give a taste of the wide variety of Christmas gift ideas on offer throughout the store.

The high-street chain unveils the campaign the week after it announced a 4.3 per cent increase in UK retail sales for the six months to 27 September.

It said pre-tax group profits had also risen during this period by 7.4 per cent to £311.5 million.

Launching next weekend, the 50-second spot features the celebrities as pantomime personalities that appear in a storybook called Once Upon a Christmas.

Young plays Prince Charming, the T4 presenter Jane Sarpong is Little Red Riding Hood and Bunton plays a Cinderella-style character.

The creative team was Chris Hodgkiss and Pip Bishop. The ad was directed by Jeff Stark and produced by Large Corp.

Media planning and buying is by Walker Media. The ad will run during peaktime programmes until Christmas Eve.

Alice Avis, the marketing director at Marks & Spencer, said: "The TV ad has become an eagerly awaited event from Marks & Spencer and is central to the Christmas campaign, which kicked off last month with the roll-out of our dedicated Christmas shops."