Call me a cynical old copywriter but when it comes to Xmas ads…

I don’t doubt that social media is the way to go this Christmas if you want to sell stuff, which is why M&S is spending the lion’s share of its Christmas marketing budget on promoting its ‘Follow the Fairies’ campaign on social media like Facebook and Twitter. The M&S campaign is all about spreading Christmas cheer and encourages the public to perform random acts of kindness. It’s full of teasers like this one where you make a Christmas fairy bauble out of an old clothes peg, write a random act of kindness you will do on the back of the wings, then hand your home-made fairy to a member of M&S staff in-store so M&S can ‘use it for a very special cause’.

Doh! They’ve got you into the store by doing that! And, note, it doesn’t include M&S food stores where you might pop in for a sandwich, only the ‘big’ stores. So hopefully you’ll spend some serious cash while you’re there.

As with the Sainsbury World War 1 football match commercial, I can’t help feeling cynical about the way the stores are attempting to tug at our heart strings in order to sell more stuff. Then there’s the John Lewis penguin, admirably lampooned in this ad for a furniture store in Wales. (I know which ad I prefer 😉 )

Let’s face it, at the end of the day, that’s what all these Christmas ads are there for: to make us spend more cash.

That’s if we can face the massive queues.

On Monday, at Meadowhall in Sheffield, I could have done with M&S performing a ‘random act of kindness’ and staffing the two empty tills which would have made my 45-minute wait in the refunds queue a little less tiresome.

Or magic all the queues away with a sweep of the fairy wand.

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