Marks & Spencer has eschewed a John Lewis-style blockbuster Christmas advert in favour of a TV and social media marketing campaign starring Superstar Juice duo Holly Willoughby and Keith Lemon with a sharper concentrate on its merchandise and costs.
Final 12 months the struggling retailer’s adverts featured Paddington, however whereas the advert attracted almost 7m views on YouTube alone, its Christmas gross sales had been a washout.
So as a substitute of blowing this 12 months’s advertising and marketing price range on a cinematic advert, M&S has determined to spend the money on airing it.
Nathan Ansell, its director of selling for clothes and residential, stated prospects would see the advert 10 instances as usually as final 12 months’s: “It’s a extra environment friendly use of our spend. CGI [computer-generated imagery] is kind of costly. The world’s moved on [from blockbuster Christmas ads] … An important factor is folks keep in mind the product and are available out and store.”
With M&S’s feminine prospects sometimes aged over 50, the presence of Willoughby is a part of the retailer’s drive to draw youthful feminine customers. Within the advert the 37-year-old daytime TV presenter wears a sequence of outfits together with a £35 leopard-print miniskirt and an £89 purple coat.
However the massive query is whether or not customers will really have the ability to purchase Willoughby’s outfits. The TV star curates a seasonal assortment of her clothes “must-haves”, however a few of the autumn picks, similar to a £49.50 leopard-print costume, bought out in some sizes inside hours, with Steve Rowe, the boss of M&S, admitting it was “letting prospects down”.
Nevertheless, forward of the launch of Willoughby’s festive wardrobe selections Ansell stated: “We’ve got realized from that and made positive we now have obtained extra inventory for purchasers.” The advert options 15 instances as a lot M&S product as final 12 months, with Ansell describing it as a extra industrial strategy designed to drive gross sales.
The gang-pleasing advert, which airs for the primary time on Tuesday, incorporates a visitor look from the mannequin David Gandy doing the washing-up in a pair of Marigolds, and a homage to Bridget Jones designed to flog its Christmas knitwear.
Keith Lemon, the irreverent alter ego of comic Leigh Francis, can be a shock addition to the festive episode of its Instagram meals sequence, which already options Amanda Holden and Paddy McGuinness.
Retailers’ festive commercials kick-start the annual battle for hearts and minds in what’s dubbed the “golden quarter”, with £98.8bn anticipated to be spent at UK retailers and on-line within the final three months of 2018, in keeping with analysts at GlobalData, which is a small enhance on final 12 months.
Whereas Aldi, Tesco, Boots and Argos have already kicked off their campaigns, Britons are nonetheless on tenterhooks forward of the launch of the primary occasion, the John Lewis advert, which this 12 months is anticipated to characteristic Elton John.
However with excessive road chains, together with John Lewis, struggling amid weak client confidence, there may be proof that some retailers are scrimping on their Christmas TV advert spending this 12 months. ITV, which accounts for about half the £4.5bn UK TV advert market, has warned that it’s braced for an 8% fall in promoting spend in December.
After reporting its worst foodhall gross sales for a decade this week, the low-key M&S meals adverts make a advantage of its decrease costs and are a departure from the “meals porn” commercials of outdated. Nevertheless, the marketing campaign obtained off to a rocky begin after the hashtag #MyMarksFave was hijacked by customers complaining about poor service in its foodhalls, its excessive costs and native retailer closures.
“Whereas it has been a 12 months of retail failures, revenue warnings and retailer closures thus far, the golden quarter presents retailers the chance to achieve gross sales from shoppers who’re lastly able to prioritise purchasing,” stated GlobalData analyst Patrick O’Brien.
Nevertheless, he predicted low client confidence and confusion over Brexit would hit gross sales of high-priced items, whereas low cost chains would profit from customers wanting to save cash the place they may.