I have – without wishing to sound at all portentous – seen the future. Or at any rate the first of the many, many Christmas TV ad “specials”, this one from Marks & Spencer. All of them will have bags of CGI, tons of hugs for anthropomorphised characters, politically correct affection levels between humans and woollen scarves.
The minute-long ad features the cack-handed Paddington Bear disturbing, crashing, helping and eventually being hugged by Bill The Burglar, busy stealing presents, and who Paddington mistakes for Santa.
The point of these ads is entirely about feeling good and this ad will be linked to over 90 products. Just a guess here, but might Paddington memorabilia, marmalade, and duffle coats feature strongly?
More worryingly, M&S staff at all stores are being encouraged to do Random Acts of Kindness, such as and I quote “…handing out free Marmalade sandwiches”. When did anyone ever see a RAK appear either Random or Kind when organised by Kevin from Head Office? A RAK needs to be just that and not involve a tasting, sticky fingers, high levels of sugar, wheat, saturated fats and anything else that involves Dorren and her 15 stone daughter Semolina (aged 8) finding something to complain about.
A small sack, a lucky dip, a wrapped present and the promise not to open before Christmas will do the trick. I’m forming a queue now.