Burglar does NOT say 'f**k you, little bear' in M&S Christmas ad, watchdog rules

A social media furore around the suggestion that the Marks & Spencer Christmas ad features a villain swearing at Paddington bear has been definitively resolved.

The ad does not include a single swear word, the UK’s advertising watchdog has determined.

The retailer’s big-budget festive campaign features everyone’s favourite bear inadvertently saving Christmas for his neighbours, mistaking a bearded burglar in red for Santa and assisting him in returning all of the stolen presents back to where they belong.

But the ad caused an uproar after viewers believed they heard the burglar making the final parting comment: "F*** you, little bear."

M&S was forced to defend the ad, with a spokesman saying it was "clear" that the words are "thank you, little bear".

A spokesman for the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which received a total of three complaints about the ad, said: "Whilst we appreciated that some viewers may have misinterpreted this, the ad did not contain a swear word and therefore did not break the rules."

He added: "There were no grounds for an investigation."

The retail giant partnered with StudioCanal to bring to life this year’s offering ahead of the release of the latest film Paddington 2.

Created by Grey London, the ad features Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington.

Grey London chief executive Leo Rayman said: "Who would think we would allow a small, loveable little bear to be sworn at? The campaign is a celebration of family generosity and Christmas spirit. Of course we wouldn’t put a swear word in a Christmas TV ad.

"It’s funny how some people react to Christmas advertising."

More in this Section

Brendan Howlin was not impressed with these TV image errors

Give your brain a workout with our Sunday quiz

Weather presenter Gerry Murphy did a brilliant U2 lip sync on the Ray D'Arcy Show

This agile wrestling referee is the funniest human on the Internet right now

Today's Stories

Book gives insight into sisters’ life in monastery

Main parties rule out governing with Sinn Féin

Families concerned over lack of progress in Garda inquiries

RTÉ employee alleged to have sought sex with underage girl


Our divergent relationship with animals

Cork photographer in the frame for top prize

Battle of the bog: Those who fought for access to the bathroom

A towering achievement: Exploring Irish castles and beautiful buildings

More From The Irish Examiner