Sensible M&S trusts in passion


The first TV campaign to advertise the Marks & Spencer brand goes on air next week. The move is being seen as yet another attempt to inject energy into the high street brand that has experienced falling sales and falling profits for the past three years.

Boredom with the fashion ranges on offer, unexciting store layouts and increased competition are cited for the fall-off in sales and this multimillion-pound brand-building campaign is an attempt to inspire enthusiasm in the store and to revitalise the brand's image.

The drive represents the first time that M&S has consolidated its £20 million sterling (€32.6 million) advertising budget into a single brand campaign.

Devised by UK agency Rainey, Kelly, Campbell and Roalfe/Y&R, the campaign centres around a new brand proposition "inspiring passion".

This would seem to be a major shift from the current brand identity for which the words "dull and sensible" and "value for money" seem appropriate. The new logo - "Exclusively for everyone" - aims to persuade Marks & Spencer customers to return to the store. The first of the two 30-second ads focus on the autumn collection, while the second shows the fit of the clothing which has been improved as a result of a size survey.

This involved taking the measurements of more than 2,500 women. Using new body-scanning technology, more than 100 body measurements were taken showing that in the last 10-12 years women have become taller and curvier.

Poster, press and in-store promotional material will support the TV campaign.

In May when announcing a fall in pre-tax profits, the company reported a modest upswing in sales in Britain with like-for-like figures for the eight weeks to May 20th improving by 2.1 per cent.

There have been reports, however, that the trend has not continued through the summer months, with sales falling for the third summer in a row - this year by about 6 per cent.