Marks & Spencer have made an early move in the Great Christmas Advert Wars, and they’ve come out with a very strong effort fronted by none other than bear of the moment, Paddington.
Doing the job of advertising both M&S and the upcoming Paddington 2 movie (I’m more excited about this film than basically anything else that’s come out this year, Blade Runner 2040who?), the 90-second short sees Paddington get up to his classic hi-jinks.
The ad took four months to create and is titled ‘Paddington Bear and the Christmas Visitor’. It sees Paddington accidentally save Christmas for his neighbourhood when he mistakes a Christmas Eve burglar for Santa Claus.
Paddington is in the middle of dreaming about marmalade, but wakes up when he hears what he thinks must be Santa sneaking around on the roof outside his bedroom window.
He opens the window, knocking the man - who is actually a bearded burglar dressed all in red - flat on his back, sending his sack of stolen presents flying.
Paddington, believing the man is the real Father Christmas, helps him collect all the presents back up into his sack, and sets about dragging the bloke around the neighbourhood, redistributing all the gifts to their rightful owners - just in time for Christmas.
He also snaffles the odd mince pie along the way, of course.
Early the next morning, Paddington watches through a window as the presents he’s handed out are opened with glee, before sending the burglar on his way with a marmalade sandwich he pulls from his own bag.
He’s back home relaxing after a hard night’s work, when a news bulletin reveals that Santa was caught on camera last night - accompanied by a small bear. Suddenly his doorbell is going off, and a gaggle of reporters are camped outside Paddington’s house, the secret seemingly up.
M&S’ global brand and marketing director, Rob Weston, told The Telegraph: “People are looking forward to escaping into the Christmas bubble, and our aim is to provide you with a story that is charming and leaves you feeling good at the end.
“There are few things more British than Paddington and M&S.”
The ad will air on TV for the first time during the Pride of Britain awards on ITV this evening, and is part of a wider campaign for which Paddington will sit front and centre for the brand.
He will be in every shop window, and a range of more than 90 Paddington-themed products are being released, including the bear’s classic blue duffle coat and signature marmalade.
Paddington 2 will hit cinemas on Friday, 10 November.