With declining food sales mirroring the retailer’s fashion decline, it has appeared that Marks and Spencer, under the reign of Marc Bolland, has been spinning into terminal decline. But hang on. Our much loved M&S where, with little exception, we have either worn or eaten their wares over the decades, has suddenly bounced back with a vengeance. The launch of a new food campaign set to an instrumental version of the Clean Bandit track Rather Be has succeeded where recent fashion ads have failed – driving an emotional connection with those consumers who have fallen out of love with its style, format and quality. Capitalising on food’s current status of being on trend, the retailer has returned to a less cheesy format than recent advertising using a “go on, try me” kind of approach has done in the past. In my opinion, this will go some way in helping to rebuild the emotional connection with disaffected M&S shoppers, tempting them to return in-store and try a treat or two again.
Its fashion ATL has also wisely taken a change in tact, ditching the leading ladies in favour of a simpler execution with the Ed Sheeran track Sing, designed to strike a chord with everyday customers, who aren’t impressed or swayed by celebrity endorsement. The clothes or food might not be to everyone’s taste or appeal to a specific age group, but this ATL campaign brings back the emotion this much loved UK brand badly needs to reconnect with their customers and compete with the other household brands. I am impressed and genuinely like this approach. This may just work and evolve into a spectacular Christmas ATL campaign re-establishing the M&S brand.
Another long standing representative on the British high street, McDonald’s, seems to be succeeding in re-marketing themselves to a wider, more health conscious audience. Considered by many the antipathy of healthy eating, even perhaps the pariah of fast food only one step up from the generic chicken shop, McDonald’s sat closely with its counterparts Burger King and KFC, with very little to distinguish them apart – until now. Their new ATL is taking a step back in time, reminding us how great we thought McDonald’s used to be, how much of a treat it was and the special occasions that we had long forgotten during which we chose to feast on McDonald’s. Roll up the new look and feel of McDonald’s, at least portrayed by its advertising, that will entice some of us to go back and revisit that memory of our first McDonald’s. Perhaps even make a child’s first experience of McDonald’s a seminal moment like it was for us, rather than what it has perhaps become as a soiled moment tinged with guilt. Maybe we should all be a bit more carefree, a little bit of what you like as a treat on occasion is alright.