Instead of generating a rush of sales, the festive ‘must have’ window display has fueled a flood of social media posts from passersby and the world at large, outraged by the ‘grotesque’ and ‘vomit inducing’ display of a well-clothed David Gandy next to a scantily clad female model.
At the root of many complaints is that the High Street store is inadvertently contributing to a ‘normalisation of damaging gender stereotypes’, according to shopper Fran Bailey who posted a photo of the offending shop front to the Facebook group Feminist Friends Nottingham.
To be clear: @marksandspencer believe that the 'MUST HAVES' are:
For MEN: 'outfits to impress'
For WOMEN: 'fancy little knickers'
Imagine for a moment if those window displays were reversed.
Go on M&S .... we are watching.
— FiLiA (@FiLiA_charity) November 18, 2018
Speaking to the Shropshire Star Bailey wrote: “It’s pandering to notions of gender that are so outdated that it’s unbelievable that it’s still being spouted out. I’m disgusted because I’d have thought that M&S was a grown-up store that knew better.
“I know M&S is not the worst offender by any means but this particular juxtaposition is just grotesque.”
In a statement, M&S responded: “We’ve highlighted one combination in our windows, which are part of a wider campaign that features a large variety of must-have Christmas moments, from David Gandy washing up in an M&S suit through to families snuggling up in our matching PJs.”
M&S has chosen to focus on products rather than 'blockbuster creative' for its 2018 Christmas campaign.