Marks and Spencer – Christmas 2023

Directed by Dom & Nic, this humorous new holiday ad reunites The Mill’s team with Fairy, (voiced by iconic British…
Marks and Spencer "Christmas 2023"
Case Study

Directed by Dom & Nic, this humorous new holiday ad reunites The Mill’s team with Fairy, (voiced by iconic British actress/comedienne Dawn French), this year joined by two lovable and mischievous mittens (voiced by Hollywood heavyweights Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney) enjoying their first taste of Christmas.

In our hero film, Fairy discovers Left and Right, two conjoined mittens accidentally dropped in the snow by their owner, a little girl named Lilly. Once inside, Fairy treats the reindeer-shaped mittens to some Christmas fun and games before leading them to a magnificent feast set on a dining room table. “This is not just food… This is M&S Christmas food,” says Fairy, closing the spot, abundant with dry humor and a love of tradition.

Hear more from our incredible team on how they created these timeless characters, and watch the second, third, and fourth films in this giggle worthy, six-part blockbuster ad series .

“The mittens were two of the most complex characters I have ever been involved in creating!” says Creative Director Andy Steele. The team remade the underlying animated structural rigs several times in order to capture a range of motion and emotion. Having all this functionality in one rig – being able to see every knitted thread in the mittens, for example – offered creative freedom to shoot without cutting corners.” The filmmakers even hired a professional knitter to fabricate real-life mittens as an essential camera and lighting reference on set. 

A materialistic approach played a key role in creating the real look and feel of a small child’s mittens. “We found inspiration for their movement style in Forky from Toy Story 4,” explains David Bryan, animation director of The Mill, while inspiration also came from Sesame Street and The Muppets in the way characters can speak convincingly with limited tools, focusing on “syncing the head and body of the mittens, paired with a simple yet charming mouth action, to match the energy in Rob and Ryan’s voice overs.” Using features like the antlers on the mittens to express emotion, their body mechanics were informed by using a real mitten “to puppeteer animation references for some of the more technical actions, aiming to avoid distorting the body and legs too much or over-humanizing their limbs.”

Of his all-star British and American cast, Creative Director Andy Steele adds, “With such amazing voice talent for the performances, the animation team really invested themselves in the project. It’s not every day you get the chance to work with the likes of Dawn French, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. Everyone involved was really pumped about it, and you can see it in the creativity of the spot.”


Client: Marks & Spencer
Marketing Director: Sharry Crammond
Head of Brand and Communications: Robbie Black
Head of Creative: Rich Robinson
Writers: Steve Wakelam, Chloe Gray and Angus Macadam
Creative: Chloe Gray
Head of Media and Campaigns: Katy Allison
Senior Advertising Manager: Katie Hooper
Assistant Advertising Manager: Vhairi Motherwell
Media Manager: Rachel Marsden
Head of Creative Production: Kate Taylor
Senior TV Producer: Charlotte Jude
Production Assistants: Jen Meakin & Lucinda Knoyle-Hughes

Animation/Live Action Production Company: Outsider
Directors: dom & nic
Executive Producer: John Madsen

Food Production Company: Bite Collective
Food Director: Gus Filgate
Executive Producers: Alex Katz and Dom Seymour

Live action Edit: Final Cut
Live action Editor: Ed Cheeseman
Live Action Assistant Editor: Ruby Browne
Live Action Edit Producer: Nikki Porter

Food Edit: Marshall Street
Food Editor: John Mayes

Audio: Clearcut Sound Studios
Sound Design: James Clark
Audio Producer: Chris Wrigglesworth and Lindsay Grant

Music Company: Wake the Town
Composer: Charlie Smith

Post Production: The Mill London
Producer: Solomon Tiigah
Executive Producer: Mireille Antoine
Creative Director: Andy Steele
Animation Director: David Bryan
VFX Supervisors: Nick Slade (CG), Mike Little (CG), Johan Alfort (2D), Adrian Monroy (2D), Lora Nikolaeva (2D), Vanessa Duquesnay (2D)
Colour: Peter Oppersdorff
Character Asset Developers: Silvia Bartoli, Paolo Ceresa, Florent Sanglard, Roman Vrbovsky, Will Burdett
Animation Lead: George Rigby
Animation Artists: Chris Welsby, Mack Knights, Alberto Lara, Thomas Craig, Rachel Ward
FX TD: Platon Filimonov
FX Artists: Florent Sanglard, Arnau Gilabert, Dimitri Allonneau
Lighting Artists: Jack Enever, Katie Bates, Tatjana Ljubimtseva, Luke Webster
2D Artists: Mithun Alex, Marko Perendija, Vipin Tripathi, Jane Edwards, Leah Ayinde, Polly Gwinnett

Post-Production: The Mill Bangalore
Producer: Ameya Chitnis
Production Coordinator: Ashokkumar Arul
DFX supervisor: Vivek Tekale
Project lead: Antany Subramaniam
Compositing Lead: Amresh Kumar
Compositing Artist: Aasheesh Singh, Chandan Kamalakar Shete, Gangadharam Raja, Hemant Parshuram Sawant, Jayant Sharma, Jeril C Joseph, Nikhil K M, Srinivas A
Lighting Supervisor: Aritra Kumar Sarkar
Lighting Lead: Deepa Thapa
Lighting Artist: Bingi Akhil, Garima Yadav, Pratik Sharma, Ravi Kant Nirala, Setty Ashok Chakravarthy, Stacie Fina Dsouza, Sweekar Revankar, Trinath Sarkar, Dwadasi Saicharan Sastri, Karan Jitendra Patel
FX Supervisor: Biswajit Tarafder
FX Lead: Madivadanatamilparidy Ramamoorthy
FX Artist: Gleaces Juvilian, Manik Suvedi
Asset Supervisor: Dakoju Shashi Kumar
Asset Lead: Jayadeep Chandran
Asset Artist: Abhishek Nishad, Amalraj P, Boricha Mohit Narshibhai, Dipak Chularam Nimje, Prashanth C
Animation Supervisor: Sukanta Chakraborty
Animation Lead: Srinivasa Rao Rella
Animation Artist: Badireddy Sri Charan, Jithin K, Madhurima Das Gupta, Nisham Khan, Raman Bhatia, Ravi Panwar, Vinod Kumar Darapu
DMP Supervisor: Gowri Sankar Velusamy D
DMP Lead: Sandipan Majumder
DMP Artist: Jibin Baby P,Paresh Kumar Swain, Mohan Rao, Premanand Shivanand Naik
Rigging Lead: Garlapati Yeswanth
Rigging Artist: Megha Minish Mehta
MatchMove Supervisor: Elangovan Ganeshan
Matchmove Lead: Gautam Sarode
Matchmove Artist: Abhishek Popat Pise
Anil Rathor, Ankita Chanda, Asif Mohammad, Chetan Balasaheb Kadam, Ganesh Sonar, Kiran Auti, Kiran Kharge, Kishor Shivaji Apune, Kunnath Madhu Aswathi, Mahesh Wagh, Mansi Kodikal, Morisetti Srikanth, Mukesh Gavade, Nallur Suhas Bhat, Namrata Yadav, Puppala Vinod Kumar, Rohit Kamble, Rutik Anil Sutar, Santanu Bhattacharya, Sarathkumar K, Sayed Hussain, Shubham Sah, Shyamal Waghamare, Suman Sahu, Tanisha Kashyap, Tirupati Bhavani Shankar Derangula, Titisa Sarkar, Typhan Rai, Upasana Choudhary, Viraj Tendulkal, Vishal Shirsat, Yogesh Khot, Arjun Babu, Rais Pinjari
Rotoscoping Supervisor: Sivakumar R
Rotoscoping Lead: Moumita Ganesh Pratihar, Md Gazzali
Rotoscoping Artist: Abhishek yadav, Ankit Shaw, Imrojul Khan, Jagannatham Venkata Rakesh, Nitin Yashwant Thorat, Onkar Ghatage, Pratik Krushnanath Sonkusale, Rahul Chandrakant Jagtap, Sandeep Mishra, Shubham Mokashi, Sugankumar R C, Tushar Suresh Bhat, Vishal Kumar, Hrushikesh Kadu, Nitin Thorat
Prep Supervisor: Sugumar S
Prep Lead: Guthikonda Venkateswara Rao, Jalander Madishetty
Prep Artist: Abhishek Deswal Anil Kumar, Dhundappa Kallappa Pattan, Dundi Sudhakar Reddy, Kamatham Pavan, Kanak Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Mohammad Sohel Khan, Prasanna Kumar Mandavalli, Sailen Khanra, Sukhwinder Singh, Vadlamudi Hari Sankar, Shailesh Madhav

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