Marks & Spencer has thrown down the gauntlet to John Lewis this year with an all-dancing Christmas advert featuring a signature “shoulder roll” move that it hopes could set dancefloors and social media alight over the festive season.
Set to House of Pain’s 1992 hit Jump Around, the ad was made by the British director Jake Nava, best known for Beyoncé’s Single Ladies music video. The M&S ad, which launched on Friday, features a cast of dancers “jumping around” in M&S jumpers.
The choreography in the M&S’s “Go Jumpers” commercial is less complex than the routine tackled by Beyoncé and her backing troupe in Nava’s video, with the retailer offering advice on how to master the simple move (instructions: “adopt a power stance” and then roll your shoulder forward and back – and repeat). The store chain is hoping shoulder-rollers will then film their efforts and share their videos on social media using the hashtag #gojumpers.
Nathan Ansell, M&S’s director of marketing for clothing and home, said the infectiousness of the shoulder roll move had been picked up in focus groups.
This week M&S reported a drop in first-half profits after a sharp decline in clothing sales and the retailer hopes the feel-good ad will pull in shoppers. Its chief executive, Steve Rowe, has said a new design team will shed M&S’s reputation for “frumpiness”.
The M&S ad, which unlike last year does not feature its TV presenter fashion muse Holly Willoughby, is designed to throw the spotlight on its knitwear as strong sales of woolies could be key to its financial success this Christmas. M&S has said it expects to shift 6m jumpers and is trying to attract more young families to its stores. The ad features 50 jumpers costing anywhere between £20 and £150 – plus a £19.50 patterned jumper for dogs.
The festive ad heralds the start of the annual battle for hearts and minds in what is known as the “golden quarter” for retailers, when stores make the vast majority of their profits. Shoppers are expected to spend £80bn in the final six weeks of the season alone, according to a report by the Centre for Retail Research.
The M&S ad is part of a record £6.8bn festive advertising spree this year as companies try to tempt people to spend after a tumultuous year in which some big names – most recently Mothercare – have gone to the wall.
Ikea also entered the fray for the first time on Friday with an irreverent ad set to an original grime track voiced by MC D Double E. Some of the retail industry’s biggest names, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and John Lewis, will wait until after Remembrance Day on 11 November for their big reveals.