< Blog Home

Marks & Spencer ‘Spend it Well’ / Grey

Main Image

In May 2016 the then-newly appointed CEO Steven Rowe announced a five point strategy plan to revive the M&S brand. One of his key points was the need for a new strategy for general merchandise revolving around “making every moment special”. And now, a year later, the retailer has realised this goal with the ‘Spend it Well’ brand proposition.


‘Spend it Well’ is a 60-second call to action for consumers to stop compromising in daily life. It asks viewers to focus on quality experiences and to forget the people and things that don’t really matter. A series of uplifting vignettes feature women of all ages celebrating the power of everyday choices by shunning the things that hold them back. These choices range from the practical (think no uncomfortable knickers or phones at the dinner table) to the emotional (no more uncomfortable silences or slaving away at a job we hate), with viewers urged to say no to regrets and comparing themselves to others.



On first view, the advert is energetic and inspiring. On second viewing, we realise this is a very different campaign than M&S’ long running ‘Adventures In…’ series by Y&R. Where are the close ups of delicious delicacies? And crucially, why has the high-street giant chosen to market its clothing and food divisions together? Clearly Rowe has made good on his promise to shake things up in advertising.


M&S food hall sales are spurred by consumer trends towards convenient ready meals. But consumer trends in clothing are also moving towards convenience and that means more online shopping and less time browsing in-store. What works for M&S in the food business is working against it in its fashion offering. But M&S’ executive director of customer, marketing, Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne thinks they’ve found the answer to this in ‘Spend it Well’, saying “To remain relevant and attract new customers, we need to get people thinking differently about M&S and recapture our position as a pioneer in culture. That’s why the energy, swagger and spirit of ‘Spend it well’ is so important – it’s about empowering our customers to say no to the ordinary, so they can say yes to the best." In sum, since M&S markets its food as premium, little luxuries for every day, why can’t it market clothes as premium choices for everyday too?


By focusing on fit, M&S is catering to an audience that doesn’t follow the latest catwalk trends, but instead wants to invest in pieces that take them from season to season without looking threadbare and tired. Offered at a lower price point than competitors, Marks & Spencer clothing is affordable for everyday use, without compromising on quality. Past campaigns failed to deliver this message because they failed to spread shopper’s perception of quality beyond M&S’ food offering.


M&S is the go-to-place for many when they want to impress on casual dining occasions. When Sainsbury’s Finest won’t do, we flock to M&S to buy luxury food items for Christmas, birthdays, or a Saturday evening in. ‘Spend it Well’ succeeds in helping high street shoppers see Marks & Spencer clothing and homeware in the same light; accessible, affordable items of top quality to be used for all occasions.


The campaign is the first work by Grey since its appointment last year and marks the first time the retailer has marketed its food and clothing divisions using the same tagline. Mindshare planned the campaign which will span TV, social media, digital, outdoor, radio, in-store and press, including a tie up with the Daily Mail. A separate TV ad for food will launch tomorrow ahead of other specific spots for clothing, home, banking and Sparks due out later this year.