Halloween is over, it’s officially November, and we all know what that means: the Christmas supermarket adverts have begun. Every year, British supermarkets take over the television, pushing out tinsel-covered commercials stinking of capitalism at its finest. And every year, we eat that shit up. There’s no way I’m the only person who cries at the thought of Aldi’s rendition of Home Alone starring Kevin the Carrot.
The first supermarket to put out its Christmas advert this year was trusty Marks & Spencer (M&S)—usually a titan in this category. However, to say that M&S has well and truly screwed the pooch this festive season would honestly be an understatement.
On Wednesday 1 November 2023, the retailer posted an Instagram teasing the new advert, which stars actress Hannah Waddingham (Game of Thrones, Sex Education, Ted Lasso—pretty solid choice, not gonna lie) and is based around the concept of enjoying Christmas however you like. The post, which has now been deleted, featured Waddingham standing next to a fireplace wherein you can spot a collection of paper hats in the colours of the Palestinian flag.
Classic Christmas colours are known to be red, green, and occasionally silver. That being said, with everything that is going on right now regarding the war people online instinctively saw the flag of Palestine in the fire.
It was captioned: “This Christmas, do only what you love… like saying no to paper hats (although, if we’re honest, we’re partial).”
Palestine is currently in the middle of a horrifying military conflict which has claimed the lives of approximately 8,000 civilians and has been declared a humanitarian crisis. The ongoing war is highly politicised and has been a topic of conversation both on social media and among every traditional media outlet.
Netizens almost immediately spotted M&S’ faux pas and started bombarding the IG post with comments calling out the serious quality control miss here. Shortly after, the supermarket shared a post apologising for the incident:
View this post on Instagram
In the statement, the company expressed that the advert was filmed in August prior to the war and that it was never meant to cause any harm.
However, a number of individuals online have continued to condemn and boycott the brand, stating that the image was clearly intentional and that the apology was lacklustre at best.