Sandra Dick: M&S campaign is well off the Marks yet again

Myleene Klass and Twiggy in a past M&S campaign. Picture: Complimentary
Myleene Klass and Twiggy in a past M&S campaign. Picture: Complimentary
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So, cheerio Twiggy. It was lovely seeing your perfectly preserved smile and skinny butt on our screens, but you’re now yesterday’s girl.

Dannii has been dumped, Myleene joined the opposition. And in comes . . . well, where to begin with the new celebrity faces of the new Marks & Spencer campaign?

There’s – deep breath – Dame Helen Mirren, artist Tracey Emin, boxer Nicola Adams, ballerina Darcey Bussell, singer Ellie Goulding and former nurse of the year Helen Allen. We have acid attack survivor Katie Piper and a few others but, frankly, by the time I’ve waded through that lot I’ve pretty much lost the will to live, never mind nip to Markies for some new knickers.

They’ve all been photographed by celebrity superstar snapper Annie Leibovitz. Of course! Who else?

All dressed up in their M&S finest, the subliminal message is that we could be just like them just by slipping into a new long-sleeved frock – for a key element of the shop’s new direction is to cater for a nation of women with bingo wings – thus reviving the store’s flagging womenswear business.

Except, once again, I fear M&S has rather missed the point.

While it is wonderful to pat these fine women on the back, by the time I’ve waded through the personalities, the campaign message and decided which of them I’d like to be, I’ve rather forgotten to look at what they’re actually wearing. Much easier to just flick through the Boden catalogue or type “Next” into the Google search bar.

Where rival John Lewis has got its marketing absolutely spot on is by deliberately NOT telling us who we should be, or making us feel bad about who we’re not. Instead, its subtle and delightful advertising campaigns intrigue and somehow touch an emotional nerve that make us identify with its brand in a way M&S has recently consistently failed to do.

By trying too hard and appearing too desperate to woo us with celebrities and toe-curling cheesy television campaigns, I fear Marks & Spencer has, sadly, yet again simply flicked the “off” switch in many shoppers’ brains.