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Good and Bad PR: Christmas folly from M&S but where’s your jumper?!

21st November 2018


Good PR

Christmas season is pretty much upon us, even though it’s not even December yet, and I’m already planning which festive jumper to wear to the office come the first working day of the month.

The British-made jumper company notjust.shop has hit the headlines again for another fab design; this time, a Christmas jumper featuring the legend himself, Sir David Attenborough. 

It’s got the national treasure’s face on the front, with a little Christmas robin, and a play on the 92-year-old’s name ‘Attenbrrrr’ below it. I, for one, ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT.

The launch of the jumper was perfectly timed to coincide with Attenborough’s latest show, Dynasties, which focuses on endangered species and is currently running on BBC1. So, this was a great move for notjust.shop.

The design is part of a limited run of just 250 jumpers, so they’re bound to sell out quick (especially as it’s now on the likes of the Metro, Huffington Post, Pretty52 and more. It costs £34.00 and is available in unisex sizes small to XL.

The coverage has been great for notjust.shop, but this isn’t the brand’s first rodeo. It’s the same company behind the Gareth Southgate ‘Christmas is coming home’ jumper and the Jeremy Corbyn ‘Jerry Christmas’ one. There are currently other designs available, including one that depicts Donald Trump as the Grinch, a ‘one kiss is all it takes’ Dua Lipa mistletoe design and a Danny Dyer ‘rockin’ around the Christmas geez’ one. Brilliant.

I’ve also learned more about this company through all the latest media coverage it has landed, including that NotJust has so far raised £7,000 for charity through sales of the Jezza jumper from last year.

It’s nice to see nice companies getting nice PR results.

Bad PR

Marks and Spencer found out the hard way this week that a window display can most definitely be at the centre of a sexism storm, leading to a whole lot of negative PR.

At a store in Nottingham, the window display on one side had male mannequins dressed in suits and smart outfits, backed by a photo of a snazzy looking David Gandy; with the words ‘MUST HAVE OUTFITS TO IMPRESS’ on the glass. To the right of that display was the female-focused offering, which had mannequins dressed in underwear, silky robes and skimpy PJs, backed by a photo of a model in a red bra and knicker set and the words ‘MUST HAVE FANCY LITTLE KNICKERS’ on the glass.

Most visual merchandise teams would’ve come to the conclusion that the male window display would be better flanked by a female one focused on Christmas party dresses or outfits; or that a women’s underwear showcase would be better placed next to one of David Gandy in his skimpiest boxers and pant-wearing male mannequins. But, alas, that’s not how this panned out; and even if there was a male-targeted answer to the female underwear window display, the ‘must have fancy little knickers’ wording probably still wouldn’t have gone down well.

The window display first went viral after a woman shared a photo of it in a group on Facebook called Feminist Friends Nottingham (which has over 1,400 members) with the message:

"Ok, M&S Nottingham, have we really not learned anything in the last 35 years? Or am I alone in finding this, their major window display, completely vomit inducing?"

From there, it went absolutely everywhere, from the BBC and Sky News, to The Guardian, ITV and Good Morning Britain.

In a statement, M&S said: “M&S sells more underwear, in more shapes, sizes and styles, than any other retailer, especially at Christmas. We've highlighted one combination in our windows, which are part of a wider campaign that features a large variety of Must-Have Christmas moments, from David Gandy washing up in an M&S suit through to families snuggling up in our matching PJs."

Will this affect the Christmas sales of M&S? Probably not, but bad PR around the time of year that is its key sales period isn’t ideal.

Written by Shannon Peerless, 10 Yetis @ShazzaYeti on Twitter. Seen any good or bad PR lately? You know what to do @10Yetis on Twitter or andy@10Yetis.co.uk on email



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