Challenges & Objectives

While M&S Food’s quality credentials were legendary, this had led to a M&S Food shop becoming an occasional indulgence, rather than a regular fresh food shop. As a result, M&S were seeing smaller basket sizes and lower frequency of visits, compared to competitors.

ITV wanted to change customer perceptions, while protecting the brand's magic. We wanted customers to see that M&S Food had more to offer than ready meals and indulgent treats, and instead come to M&S Food for their fresh food weekly shop.

Ideas & Implementation

When brands use content to entertain they create a highly effective and lasting emotional connection. We set out to create an entertainment format with M&S ingredients at the centre. ITV, Mindshare and M&S developed a primetime ad-funded programme hosted by Emma Willis and Tom Allen called Cooking with the Stars. Eight celebrities would cook-off using only M&S fresh ingredients, helped by a star chef mentor, turn judge.

The campaign was extended in-store to promote key ingredients and through a bespoke M&S branded food line. The campaign was further boosted by the talent promoting their recipe through their social channels. A spin-off show called Extra Helpings was also created for social with YouTube influencers Woody and Kleiny.


+309% The show was a massive sales driver. Huge uplifts were seen in featured products. Mango sales grew 309%, quail eggs increased 126%, rocket shot up 76%, bean sales grew by 61%, and rack of lamb was up 60%.

Target audience Featured products over-indexed with the key family customer audience.

Recommissioned The first 2021 series was so successful that it was recommissioned.

+41% The NPS score for the target audience increased from 15% to 56%.

Cooking with the Stars has been a brilliant platform for us to tell our scratch-cooking story, and to be more relevant, more often, to more people. It’s a great way for us to showcase our broad range and provide our customers with all of the recipes and ingredients from the programme itself. It’s been transformational for us. Sharry Cramond, Marketing Director, M&S Food

Read more about our three years of partnership with M&S Food.

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