Christmas in September! M&S turns a London street into a VERY seasonal scene as it prepares to do battle with John Lewis to make the best festive advert
- The annual battle for the best Christmas advert by UK retailers has begun in earnest – with M&S filming first
- A corner of West London has been transformed into a snow-dusted scene for the traditional festive ad
- Crucial seasonal commercial is seen by high street retailers as key to driving sales over the yuletide period
- Chart-toppers Take That will provide the theme tune for the the 2018 Christmas advertisement
- John Lewis, who recently announced a profit drop, is reported to have lined up Elton John for its own ad
The nights may still be light and hopes of an Indian summer still strong…but a small corner of West London is currently looking a lot like Christmas, as Marks and Spencer film their annual festive advert.
Residents in a street in the capital have watched as a production crew have transformed a row of Victorian houses with twinkling lights, Christmas trees and some very realistic-looking snow, thanks to some powerful cannons.
A classic MG parked in the street also gets a dusting of the white stuff – and suggests the retro-looking advert may well be set in a different decades.
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Faux snow! A model in the new Marks and Spencers Christmas advert blinks fake snow from her eyes as she stands outside Kate’s Toy Emporium, a fictional street created for the high street goliath’s latest offering
It’s only September! Wearing a camel coat, cream beret and smart ankle boots, the advert’s apparent star was spotted strolling down the mocked-up Christmas scene in West London this week
There was no sign of Take That, who are said to be providing the music for the ad, although the model is seen walking past a guitar shop, which suggests there may be a musical surprise. Right: The advert’s star is seen carrying a bright red and gold bag from the high street chain
While Take That are rumoured to be providing the music for the ad, Holly Willoughby and Dame Helen Mirren are said to also be featuring.
The chain’s bosses are hoping that by recruiting 73-year-old acting royalty Dame Helen and 37-year-old This Morning star Holly they will be able to appeal to shoppers across the generations.
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Filming began in London this weekend, with the advert’s apparent main star, a brunette model, wearing a camel coat and a white beret and carrying M&S bags as she shops for gifts.
The commercial’s main protagonist is seen strolling down a fictional festive high street, appearing to walk past the Zander Guitar Studio and stop outside Kate’s Toy Emporium.
Retro? A row of terraces are transformed via snow canons and twinkling lights as a camera man sets up the production. A classic MG suggests that the filming could be taking viewers back in time. Presenter Holly Willoughby and Dame Helen Mirren are said to also be featuring in the expensive advert
Winter’s coming: A member of the production crew holds the snow canons that whiten the gardens and pavement of the Victorian terraces in the upmarket street
Lights, stars in the window and trees make these houses – number 19 and number 17 – appear ready for the man in red, despite it being only September
The Christmas commercial is key to strong festive sales on the high street, with many of the UK’s major stores spending millions trying to lure in shoppers
Classic car for a classic ad? The MG is parked on the side of the road, with production equipment seen in the background
Last year saw Marks & Spencer rolling out Paddington Bear to take on John Lewis’s Moz the Monster in a competition that saw experts voting John Lewis the Yuletide winnner, based on the levels of interest generated across social media.
2018’s closely guarded theme is said to be based on the stars receiving Christmas surprises as they walk along a festive high street in what is to be a ‘feelgood’ ad.
While M&S may be looking to Take That, Holly and Helen to boost yuletide sales, John Lewis is said to have Elton John lined up for the latest incarnation of its famous Christmas commercial.
In the face of a 98.8 per cent profit crash for the first half of the year, viewers might question whether a more low-key ad might be more appropriate for the beleaguered store.
Another scene sees the apparent protagonist of this year’s ad carrying two bags as she walks past a shop selling electric guitars
Another scene sees the shopper this time wearing a more casual black coat with a hood and on-trend hound’s tooth yellow and black mini-skirt. Right: In a less snowy scene, the actress is seen turning to face the cameras, revealing a smart brown leather bag
Elton is rumoured to be receiving £5 million for the role and was spotted filming piano scenes at Pinewood Studios last month.
The Mail on Sunday reported that the ad will also star younger actors, who play Sir Elton, 71, as a child and teenager.
Cast and crew mill around on the London street as filming takes place; last month Elton John was spotted filming piano scenes at Pinewood Studios, thought to be the show-stopping finale of this year’s John Lewis ad
A source said: ‘The competition between Marks & Spencer and John Lewis has become huge now. Both are doing everything they can to outdo the other.
‘John Lewis thought they were on to a winner with Sir Elton but Dame Helen and Holly, along with Take That, will be just as big a draw and they might just win this year.’
John Lewis officially re-launched its re-brand this month, as the group looks to boost its fortunes during a difficult period for the high street.
The John Lewis department store chain and supermarket Waitrose became John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners, unveiling a new logo at John Lewis’s flagship Oxford Street store.
The rise of online shopping has taken numerous casualties, most recently House of Fraser, which was snapped up by Sports Direct boss Mike Astley over the summer.
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