Paddington does not get sworn at in ad, says watchdog
It’s official: Marks & Spencer’s Christmas ad does not feature Paddington Bear being sworn at, according to the UK advertising watchdog.
The retailer’s festive campaign features Paddington mistaking a bearded burglar, played by the actor Mark Benton, for Santa Claus and helping him return the gifts he stole, before rewarding him with a marmalade sandwich.
The TV ad caused a furore on social media, with many viewers believing that during a final parting hug the burglar makes the very un-family friendly comment: “Fuck you, little bear.” M&S has been forced to defend the ad, with a spokesman saying it is clear that the words are “thank you, little bear”.
The Advertising Standards Authority, which enforces the rules on advertising, has been assessing several complaints that the ad features an expletive. The ASA found it was all down to a case of viewers mishearing the ad.
“Whilst we appreciated that some viewers may have misinterpreted this, the ad did not contain a swearword and therefore did not break the rules,” said the ASA, which will not now move to formally investigate the ad.
The TV newsreader Angela Rippon also appears in the advert, with Paddington voiced by Ben Whishaw, the actor who plays him in the current film.
A memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral yesterday for the creator of Paddington, Michael Bond, who died in June, was attended by friends and admirers, including three stars of the new film, pictured, Madeleine Harris, Hugh Bonneville and Samuel Joslin.
Leo Rayman, chief executive of Grey London, which made the M&S ad, said it would never try to sneak a swearword into a Christmas campaign.