M&S goes big on TikTok with 2021 Christmas campaign

Marks & Spencer has leveraged TikTok to maximize its Christmas 2021 campaign. Highlights include the retailer’s first TikTok takeover and an ad tease to guess the voice of Percy Pig [spoiler alert, it’s Spider Man’s Tom Holland].

The retailer, which boasts 130,000 TikTok followers, kick-started its Christmas campaign on social media with a teaser of its food commercial accompanied by the hashtag #whoispercypig. Director of marketing for M&S food Sharry Cramond told The Drum the TikTok push is part of its “overall strategy to be more relevant, grow with families and attract a younger audience”.

She says: “M&S has two to three times more followers than our competitors, showing people are interested in our social media content. Social media is helping change perspectives of M&S.”

M&S has launched two ads this Christmas – one for food and one for home and fashion. Promoting its festive food collection is an animated Percy Pig voiced by Tom Holland, who is awoken by a fairy godmother voiced by Dawn French.

Seven ads have been produced by Anonymous Content, each showcasing different food items and to be strategically dropped throughout the period, running from November till New Year.

Over in home and fashion, the ODD-created film is set in in dream world where the leading women dances through different parts of Christmas, from meeting friends at the pub to wearing matching pajamas.

Anna Braithwaite, clothing and home director at M&S, said: “Our campaign celebrates the joy of the season and showcases the one-stop shop M&S is for everything you need to make it special.”

For OOH, M&S has taken over Waterloo Station, filling all ad spots and installing a gift train that features within the clothing and home ad. A cover wrap for tomorrow’s Metro has also been taken, along with hand-painted murals in Edinburgh, London and Manchester.

Both TV ads launch today (November 3) on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, with primetime debuts during the Pride of Britain Awards, going head-to-head against John Lewis’s Xmas ad premiere.

“Last year customers told us Christmas was effectively canceled, but they still had to make it enjoyable for the kids,” says Cramond. ”This year, Christmas research has shown everyone is ready to go all out and make this the biggest Christmas ever.”

M&S is also planning to ramp up activity on its store Facebook and Instagram pages in the run-up to Christmas. Set up during the pandemic to help shoppers know stock levels and queuing times, the pages are now a big free channel for M&S populated by UGC content from staffers.

“Word of mouth is incredibly important and that’s why, with our colleagues on social media and people in the community, that is the communication people believe so this is an important channel to us,” Cramond says.

Both campaigns are part of a wider strategy to change perceptions of M&S. Other moves include it funding ITV factual entertainment show Cooking with the Stars and signing up YouTube creators Woody & Kleiny, who have a combined social following of 25m.