M&S makes Mrs Claus the star for launch of 'most customer-centric' Christmas campaign

Santa Claus' wife swoops into London to deliver festive joy to a young brother and sister, to launch Marks & Spencer's 2016 Christmas campaign.

The retailer claims this year’s effort its most "customer-centric" campaign to date and said it aimed to create marketing activity that is warmer and more special.

It is using "Christmas with love" to highlight the most relevant products at the right time throughout the festive season, such as a Christmas jumper in early December to a last-minute dash for cream on Christmas Eve. 

The three-minute launch ad, created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, shows Mrs Claus acting on a letter written to her by a young boy called Jake who wants to do something special for his sister, Anna.

After she says goodbye to Santa who departs to deliver gifts on Christmas Eve, Mrs Claus flies from Lapland via helicopter to deliver Anna’s present at her family home in London.

She makes a point of not entering the house through the chimney (Santa’s traditional entry point) and instead strides through the front door to deliver the present under the tree.

Before she leaves, she tucks into some wine and mince pies, and it magically begins to snow upon her exit.

The ad was created by Alice Burton and Psembi Kinstan at RKCR/Y&R and it is the last festive ad created for M&S by the WPP agency after it lost the account to sister agency Grey London in August.

Premiering during the first ad break during Gogglebox at 9pm on Channel 4 tonight, the spot was directed by Tom Hooper through Smuggler and contains an original cinematic score composed by Rachel Portman.

Mindshare is handling the media for the campaign, which includes an exclusive partnership with Channel 4 to create a week of co-branded teaser activity across the broadcaster’s network and on social media. Mrs Claus will appear in a special ad break to launch the festive programming season on Channel 4. 

There will also be a spot narrated by comedian David Mitchell that will see Mrs Claus give seasonal style tips to TV presenter Dawn O’Porter and Christmas decoration suggestions to Location Location Location presenters Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer. 

The famous "Adventures in food" campaign ads will also be given a festive twist for Christmas, including a tweak to the familiar Clean Bandit track that has become ingrained in the brand’s advertising. 

The Christmas campaign launches during a continued period of challenge for M&S, which this week announced it is closing 60 stores and a fall in pretax profit of 88% in the first 6 months of the current financial year.

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director of customer, marketing and M&S.com, said: "Our ‘Christmas with Love’ campaign is a brand new approach for M&S this year, one that has been created with our customers and for our customers, with their feedback at the heart of our strategy. Our ambition is for M&S’s customers across the nation to experience something special this festive season. 

"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."