M & S Forced To Apologise After Pro-Palestine Complaints

M & S Under Fire For Xmas Advert

One of the less controversial images from M & S. Credit: MarksandSpencer/fcebook.com

THE British high street institution that is Marks & Spencer has issued an apology following the release of a controversial Christmas advert, which has upset some pro-Palestinian supporters.

The festive period festive is traditionally a time of goodwill to all, but the famous UK retailer’s Christmas campaign has overstepped the mark in the eyes of some. In an unusual turn of events, Marks & Spencer (M&S) has issued an apology following the fierce backlash over a festive advert judged by some to be insensitive, writes Metro.

The incident unfolded on Wednesday, November 2, when M&S posted an image on their Instagram account. The problematic image depicted typical red, green and silver Christmas party hats being consumed by flames in a fireplace, which some have claimed deliberately mirrors the colours of the Palestinian flag.

Advert Backlash

Since the advert was shown M&S has found itself embroiled in the middle of a furious debate. The contentious image featured in the outtake of their Christmas Clothing and Home campaign, led by Hannah Waddingham. The advertisement encouraged viewers to discard worn-out Christmas customs.

The clip concluded with Waddingham shredding white party hats, while the Instagram outtake showed red, green, and silver hats ablaze.

The choice of colours—green, red, and silver—drew anger as it coincided with the Palestinian flag’s hues, especially during a period of intensified conflict, including Israeli strikes on Gaza following militant attacks on October 7.

Public Reaction And Apology

M&S responded to the public’s reaction by retracting the post and extending an apology for the inadvertent offence caused. Their statement read: ‘Today we shared an outtake image from our Christmas Clothing and Home advert, which was recorded in August.

‘It showed traditional, festive coloured red, green and silver Christmas paper party hats in a fire grate. While the intent was to playfully show that some people just don’t enjoy wearing paper Christmas hats over the festive season, we have removed the post following feedback and we apologise for any unintentional hurt caused.’

However, the original advert itself faced criticism not just for its bad timing but also for its theme of abandoning Christmas traditions. Many critics claimed the advertisement disrespected established customs by promoting the abandonment of long-standing festive practices.

Mixed Responses

Despite the advert being filmed before the Hamas outrage, many refused to accept M & S’s apology and voiced their strong opinions: What kind of marketing team do you have that isn’t aware of the current outrage on social media? And who even puts Christmas hats on fire as a festive event? You knew exactly what you were doing!!! #boycottmarksandspencer.’

Another, rather threateningly added: ‘damage has been done. wait for the impact. just wait, not more than a month, you will be collapsing with the power of people. #freepalestine.’

One other whose photo proclaims ‘I stand with Palestine,’ said: ‘No Ad is posted without prior consent and thorough checks by yourselves! So please stop trying to gaslight us all. Pathetic is an understatement’

The advertisement featured other celebrities such as Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Zawe Ashton, and Tan France engaging in holiday activities before discarding undesirable traditions. Set to a rendition of Meatloaf’s hit by Ray BLK,  ‘I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That),’ the commercial aimed to resonate with those feeling the seasonal pressure.

Anna Braithwaite, M&S’s marketing director, explained the concept, saying: ‘We spoke to hundreds of our customers and they all told us that, at Christmas, they feel this pressure of having to worry about and plan so many things.

‘We know it can often feel like the list is never-ending so this year we decided to celebrate and empower our customers to just do the things they love.’

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • John McLean

      03 November 2023 • 11:11

      This is ridiculous. Does this mean we have to avoid all the colours of the Palestinian flag now in case we upset a born complainer ?

    • Steve Cook

      04 November 2023 • 11:14

      This must be a joke !!

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