Padding­ton does not get sworn at in ad, says watch­dog

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Mark Sweney Pho­to­graph: Do­minic Lipinski/PA

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.

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