Challenges & Objectives

M&S Food’s iconic ‘This is not just food, it’s M&S food’ positioning had reinforced M&S as a quality food retailer. However, this enviable reputation for quality convenience food meant that M&S didn’t readily come to mind for everyday fresh food. This led to smaller basket sizes, and lower frequency of visits, compared to competitors. M&S were a victim of their own success.

M&S Food had become desirable, but distant. ITV needed to protect the brand’s magic, but change perceptions. We set out to broaden M&S Food’s appeal into other categories - such as fresh produce - without losing market leadership in ready meals.

Ideas & Implementation

This is not just a campaign… it’s an M&S campaign.

To keep the magic spark, we decided to bring back the iconic line, but update everything else to bring quality credentials to a wider range of food, and people.

M&S partnered with ITV and Mindshare in ITV in 2019, on three key media strands.

1. In 2019, we broadened M&S’s appeal by embedding it in family viewing. M&S partnered with Britain’s Got Talent to bring their food into homes during shared family viewing. The stars were then integrated into the world of M&S, Ant and Dec voiceovers were used in the product-promoting idents, and the judges’ voices took over the checkouts in store, along with promoting their favourite products.

2. In 2020, we helped maintain M&S’s quality and fresh food credentials by creating Fresh Market Update. Starring ITV’s weather presenter Lucy Versamy and M&S chef Chris Barber, the pair travelled the country showcasing the length M&S go to source great food. Research told us M&S customers ate between 6-8pm, so we created a habitual viewing moment integrated into the ITV weather. We used 72 creative treatments to highlight the week’s product focus.

3. In 2021, we grew M&S’s fresh food credentials through the ad-funded programme Cooking with the Stars. Find out more about the success of this partnership.

£179m A £179m incremental increase, above what would have come from matching market growth, over three years.

23% A 23% share growth in the Produce category and 20% increase in the Meat & Dairy category.

86% Advertising-driven revenue ROI was higher in 2021 than 2018 (pre-strategy).

159% After all costs removed and margin applied, profit ROI trebled to 159% in 2021 versus 2018.

By taking a longer-term view, and working in strategic partnership with both ITV and Mindshare, we were able to create some powerful long-creative platforms that have allowed us to both build for the future, drive trade in the present, and continue to drive the transformation of our business. Robbie Black, Head of Brand Comms, M&S

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