Marks & Spencer issue apology following Christmas ad controversy 3 months ago

Marks & Spencer issue apology following Christmas ad controversy

"We have removed the post following feedback and we apologise for any unintentional hurt caused.”

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has issued an apology after an online backlash to its new Christmas advertising.

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On Wednesday (1 November), the retail chain launched its Christmas Clothing and Home campaign for 2023 with a video promo featuring several UK celebrities.

In a statement about the clip, M&S said:

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"Celebrating the honest truth of Christmas, the campaign is inspired by the insight that, for many, it can be a challenge striking the balance between celebrating the things we love about the holidays, and taking on some things we might not enjoy as much but feel obliged to do anyway.

"To bring this to life, this campaign invites viewers to embrace only the things they love about Christmas (and skip those they don’t). The campaign line 'Love Thismas (Not Thatmas)' encourages people to join in, deciding what makes Christmas work best for them."

Set to a cover of the classic Meatloaf song ‘I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)’, the promo sees actresses Hannah Waddingham and Zawe Ashton, singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor and TV personality Tan France destroying objects people might typically associate with the festive season.

marksMarks & Spencer issue apology following Christmas ad controversy

However, an "outtake image" from the ad posted to Marks & Spencer's Instagram page - which shows paper hats being burnt in a fireplace - has sparked controversy, with some viewers highlighting that the hats are in the colours of the Palestinian flag.

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Accompanying the now deleted photo was the caption: “This Christmas, do only what you love… like saying no to paper hats (although, if we’re honest, we’re partial).”

Along with taking down the image, M&S has issued a statement apologising for the post, which reads:

“We shared an outtake image from our Christmas Clothing and Home advert, which was recorded in August.

“It showed traditional, festive coloured red, green and silver Christmas paper party hats in a fire grate.

“While the intent was to playfully show that some people just don’t enjoy wearing paper Christmas hats over the festive season, we have removed the post following feedback and we apologise for any unintentional hurt caused.”

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