M&S Responds To Christmas Ad Backlash

M&S Responds To Christmas Ad Backlash

News by Roberto Orosa
Published: November 24, 2023

Retail giant Marks & Spencer has cut a scene from its 2023 Christmas Clothing and Home commercial that many have deemed controversial. 

The "Love Thismas (Not Thatmas) spot," featuring famous personalities such as Hannah Waddingham, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Zawe Ashton and Tan France, centers around the rejection of traditional Christmas practices.

One scene depicted English singer-songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor flaming a pile of Christmas cards. After the cards were set on fire, a close-up shot of Ellis-Bextor's eyes saw flames coming from the cards. 

The scene has since been removed from the spot following social media backlash that accused the spot of being insensitive to the current Israel-Palestine conflict, while the original version will no longer be streaming on YouTube and TV.

Instead, a shortened one-minute version of the ad without the scene will be used. 

M&S Response: Valid Or Irreparable?

Despite making changes to the controversial video, M&S still faces scrutiny from angry viewers who call for a boycott of the brand. 

"What a disgusting advert this is, I hope more people boycott M&S like my family are," one user commented on the YouTube video.

On the other hand, another user has accused the company of being anti-Christmas and anti-Christian with its spot. "Hopefully the British public vote with their wallet and give M&S a miss," it wrote.

This is not the first time M&S experienced backlash for seemingly insensitive ads. 

The retail company recently apologized for sharing a Christmas campaign outtake on Instagram, featuring paper hats in Palestinian flag colors burning in a fireplace, which led to a social media backlash.

M&S clarified that the ad was filmed in August, months before the current conflict. A spokesperson explained that various edits showcasing talent, stylish clothing and Christmas magic will continue airing on TV and social media until Christmas day.

Subscribe to Spotlight Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest industry news