M&S Christmas ad is first of the season to spark ‘go woke, go broke’ cries from internet trolls

The first ‘go woke, go broke’ cries of the Christmas season are here, with M&S facing backlash for its 2023 seasonal ad campaign.

The festive advert uses the slogan ‘Love Thismas (Not Thatmas)‘ and focuses on striking the balance between doing what we actually enjoy at Christmas, and what we feel obliged to do.  

A host of British talent appear in the Marks and Spencer advertisement – which is set to a cover of Meatloaf’s ‘I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)’ by Ray BLK – including Hannah Waddingham, Zawe Ashton, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Tan France. 

Encouraging people to shun the endless expectations and chores of the festive season, the ad shows the stars burning Christmas cards, throwing a board game into a fish tank and hitting an elf toy with a bat. 

The playful advert did not please everyone though, with people quickly – and bizarrely – slamming the retailer as “woke” for “trying to cancel Christmas” and for daring to feature gay and Black people. 

The brand has also removed a promotional photo from social media, after backlash to it showing Christmas hats, in the colours of the Palestine flag, on fire.

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“I can assure you that my family have used your store since the 1950s, It’s possible that our great grandparents also did. Our family will never use your store again. Go woke go broke,” one user on the social media platform X said. 

“The majority of people in this country celebrate Christmas, This Ad is just another attack on traditional British values and our culture, Tell M&S where they can stick their woke B.S #GoWokeGoBroke,” another said. 

“Encouraging adults to act like spoilt brats and trash other people’s Christmas if they simply don’t like it is a poor taste move from M&S #MarksAndSpencer this advert is a huge disappointment. Creating divide isn’t nice nor needed. Christmas is all we have left. #GoWokeGoBroke,” a third wrote. 

The idea that M&S is attempting to cancel Christmas was shared widely across social media, with people reinforcing the right-wing conspiracy theory that white Christians are no longer ‘allowed’ to celebrate the festive season. 

One person, unhappy with the ad, wrote: “The more they try and cancel Christmas the more we just f**king love it! Are my Christmas lights offending anyone? Oh they are? Great, I’m off to buy some more. Makes me so angry.” 

“I second that @marksandspencer the cultural and religious insults just keep piling on and now they’ve joined the white Christian hatred. F**K THEM. I don’t feel safe in M&S [they] clearly despise me and the £billions Christianity and actual Brits have poured into them. Betrayal!,” another outraged user said. 

Others expressed outrage that it was only adults featured in the advert, rather than children, and that M&S had the audacity to include a gay couple and Black family in the video. 

Martin Daubney, former deputy leader of the Reclaim Party, predictably joined the joyless pile-on, claiming the ad is “contender for Worst Xmas Ad of the Year” because it has – in his words – no children, an “obligatory gay couple” with “no heterosexual couple in sight” and “the family is black” as that it “mandatory in ad land”. 

Peter Whittle, founder and director of the New Culture Forum, said: “No old people. Virtually no kids. None of those silly traditions such as Christmas cards or games, or giving pleasure to others. ‘This Christmas, do anything ‘you’ want.’ Dismal, dismal message.” 

The ad features stars Hannah Waddingham and Tan France (M&S)

There were, of course, many people who did understand the campaign’s message and found the over the top response to the ad funny, if a little bewildering.  

“As if M&S releasing an advert saying just vibe this Christmas and do what you like has all the gammons and Karens up in arms,” one humorously pointed out, “as someone who hates all the Christmas traditions, this is camp I love it.” 

“The blue ticks and flag wavers are really hating this. I think it’s funny and the meaning is clear,” someone said simply in a quote tweet of the video. 

“Lol people are complaining about this for making Christmas seem like a ‘chore’ – it flamin well IS!,” a second person wrote, “For the first time ever I’m doing Christmas differently this year and I feel so free – bin off tradition and do what makes YOU happy.” 

“White people in this thread losing their f**king marbles at an ad telling people they don’t have to send Christmas cards or pull crackers if they don’t want to but they CAN enjoy a beautiful Christmas with their friends and family in any way they are happy to,” another observed.

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