Just when you thought the X Factor couldn’t get any more ubiquitous, retail bellwether Marks & Spencer has launched a Christmas ad based on the show.
In it, the show’s finalists sing their version of When You Wish Upon a Star, with the twist that one finalist will be edited out each week as they get voted off X Factor.
The campaign is a departure from the retailer’s Twiggy-heavy Christmas ads, and the reaction, as M&S will have no doubt expected, has been mixed.
Despite – or indeed because of – its vocal critics, the ad has achieved an important thing: people are talking about it.
Another plus is it’s a clever use of a TV show that has wormed its way into the nation’s consciousness. It also pits M&S alongside a programme that for many has become a national institution and taps into a feeling of celebration that many viewers have come to associate with Saturday night, and it avoids the aspirational feel that led to its Ryan Reynolds ads being derided as a poor fit for the brand.
On the downside, Alice Driscol, managing partner at marketing agency pd3, says that M&S has no control over the quality of X Factor this year, or the behaviour of its contestants and the resulting impact on its brand.
She also says the ad doesn’t show off the products enough, is schmaltzy and doesn’t quite hit the same poignant note that John Lewis has managed. However, the X Factor’s ratings are still huge and the ad is original.
The X Factor based advert is a departure from M&S’s Twiggy-heavy campaigns