Kelso’s eagerly-anticipated appearance in this year’s Marks and Spencer Christmas advert hit the small screen today.
A section of the store’s 2018 christmas advert was filmed in the town last month after the square was transformed into a winter wonderland for the evening.
Hundreds of curious onlookers flocked to watch filming for the ad as darkness fell but the retail giant managed to keep the commercial’s concept under wraps, until today.
Entitled “What’s your M&S Christmas favourite?” the advert starts with M&S travelling up and down the country to ask friends, families and colleagues to discuss their “M&S Christmas favourites” and why they make the festive season so special.
It is the firm’s first ever unscripted Christmas advert and stars colleagues and customers from across the UK.
But the opening scene, just six seconds in, pauses briefly on a winter-wonderland style Kelso square first.
The 60-add, set to an intrumental remix of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”, goes on to use food to depict the spirit of Christmas.
It is the first of the retailer’s two Christmas adverts, with the second starring Helen Mirren and Holly Willoughby still to be aired.
At the end, the audience is met with the hashtag #MyMarksFave as M&S encourages viewers to share the foods they love most.
An M&S spokesperson’s caption adds: “This year, we’ve travelled the length and the breadth of the country to ask the nation what their M&S Christmas Favourite is.
“What’s your favourite M&S food? Join the conversation using #MyMarksFave”
In recent years, supermarkets and department stores have gone head to head in a bid to create the best yuletide advert, with the Marks and Spencer’s showing being one of those most eagerly anticipated by TV viewers.
Last year’s advert, featuring Paddington Bear attracted more than 20m viewers on YouTube, and that exposure is something business and marketing group Visit Kelso hopes will attract visitors from far and wide to the town.
Chairwoman Tina Newton said: “News that M&S was filming part of its Christmas campaign in Kelso Square created a great buzz about town, and further afield through our social media pages.
“We hope that the magic and sparkle created will be recognisable as Kelso, inspiring lots of people to visit and shop for their own Christmas wish lists. A friendly welcome, genuine Christmas spirit, and personal service waits, in our wonderful selection of independent shops.”
Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for business and economic development, added: “All exposure for the beautiful Scottish Borders is great for our important visitor economy, and even a short clip in a national advertising campaign can have a positive impact.
“The advert is a useful reminder that there are many great local shopping opportunities in towns across the Borders and the significant benefits of shopping local, not just for Christmas but all year round.”
VisitScotland regional leadership director Paula Ward said: “The Scottish Borders is truly magical at Christmas and it is no surprise that M&S has chosen to film its festive advert in this part of the world.
“With its rugged coastline, charming towns, rich history and spectacular scenery, the Scottish Borders is the perfect choice for a holiday or short break at any time of the year. We are home to so many unique experiences that make Scotland the envy of the world.
“The region is especially perfect during the festive holiday season. The warmth of our people, the beautiful displays by talented independent retailers and the unique gifts that can be sourced here make it a must visit Christmas shopping destination. This advert could create a boost for tourism in the region, with people across the UK inspired to visit the Scottish Borders for themselves.
“It is also fitting that the region has been chosen to show off M&S’s food offering. Food and drink plays a critical role in attracting visitors to the area with a number of quality producers placing emphasis on the provenance of their local sourced produce. From local cider, gin, whisky and beer to luxury chocolate, bakeries and sweet treats, there really is something for everyone to enjoy in the Scottish Borders this Christmas.”