M&S: Spend It Well

A new brand platform for an iconic British retailer.

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May 15, 2017
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A NATIONAL TREASURE UNDER PRESSURE 

For over 130 years, M&S has been a British icon on the high street, shaping the tastes and style of the nation. Its highs and lows have been much discussed; you can’t speak to a friend, family member or taxi driver without getting a point of view on what it should and shouldn’t do.Today however, M&S needed to reconnect with the people of Britain. We needed to revisit the founding ethos that lay at its heart. M&S needed a powerful idea that would give them a role in culture again.

ATTITUDE, NOT AGE

It was clear that there was a massive generational shift in M&S’ target audience. In getting to know them we witnessed a step-change in ambition, taste and vitality - they weren’t settling down, they didn’t feel old and they were more opinionated than ever. They weren’t defined by age, but by attitude. They knew what mattered, valued quality and wouldn’t let what other people thought affect them. This wasn’t just true of the core buyer - it transcended age and gender.

A RALLYING CRY WAS BORN: SPEND IT WELL

‘Spend it Well’ is a call-to-arms to live our lives well, only spending our time and money on things that matter to us. An idea that shifts M&S from just quality products to quality of life, and one built from the customer up, not the brand down, making it relevant to the entire customer experience. It is the first time M&S has united both its food and clothing divisions under a single idea, and sits across all digital channels, in-store and all marketing communications be they big brand moments or quick turnaround retail messaging, including M&S Bank and its rewards club, Sparks. It has brought a fresh photography approach to clothing, adding energy and style.

It has evolved mouth-watering food campaigns beyond well-loved TV spots into print, social and digital. And it has seen M&S win Christmas by partnering with another much-loved British icon; Paddington Bear, exceeding previous engagement scores and selling out all exclusive Paddington merchandise in three days.‘Spend it Well’ has also spurred a new wave of digital innovation, most notably through the ‘Christmas Concierge’ chatbot, offering tips on hosting and food for the festive period based on your personal data. For the first time, a single idea has begun to unite the complex ecosystem of the business, with ‘Spend it Well’ carrying through from advertising to .com, instore and social media.

RESULTS

We already know the campaign is making in-roads with record emotional engagement and remarkable shifts in brand attitude. 37% of women who said they didn’t consider themselves as part of M&S’s target market changed their tune after watching the launch spot. Our Christmas 2017 campaign marked a major triumph, with the highest cut through and branding score of any Christmas ad and causing M&S to trend on Twitter at release. Critically, we’ve seen green shoots in the business, with a 3.4% increase in footfall since we launched.

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