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VMLY&R

Core disciplines: Advertising/Creative, Brand strategy, Integrated marketing

M&S

Foodhall for All

 

Problem

We are proud to have partnered with M&S for 16 years. Over this time we revolutionized food advertising and populated culture by founding ‘food porn’ and transformed the M&S Food business.

In 2014 M&S was under increasing pressure from the discounters. Lidl and Aldi were continuing their meteoric rise and the rest of the category was responding by driving down prices. We were briefed to develop a new brand strategy to develop M&S’ value perceptions and maintain revenue in an increasingly aggressive market.

As we continued to push boundaries for M&S, we made a case for the company to further pursue the premium positioning we had built for it over a decade through ‘food porn’ rather than chase the price wars in the supermarkets. Our objective therefore became: deliver one additional shopping visit per year for every existing core customer.

 

 

Solution

We took a reframing strategy to the Board that elevated M&S into a category of one – a unique food retailer that has the passion, creativity and expertise of a specialist, but the footprint of a supermarket. We defined this as a ‘Foodhall for All’. Once agreed by the Board, all activity was refocused to deliver it, from digital strategy, to search strategy, the website, the Cook app, visual identity, store branding, CRM and advertising.

Our creative platform: “Adventures In” permeated across the whole business. It invited the customer to discover a world of inspirational, mouth-watering food. It promoted fresh ingredients as well as culinary techniques in a new and innovative way that showed the craft, expertise and artistry that goes in M&S Food.

A truly multi-platform idea, we worked with a broad cross-section of stakeholders from food technologists to store designers. This led to a company-wide programme of change, including a new visual identity and redesigned store layout.

Communications followed the customer journey with film, press, radio, online, instore, and social activation via celebrated influencers and food vloggers.

 

 

Current Results

The campaign was transformational, surpassing all targets and expectations. It outperformed the category on key metrics including awareness, brand linkage and intention to purchase and is used by Instagram and Youtube as a best-in-class case study.

Most importantly it surpassed its outcome objective, delivering 1.4 incremental visits per customer in the first 12 months (against a target of 1.0). Instead of joining the ranks of the discount food retailers and diluting its brand, M&S found a new way of delivering premium to its customers. Delivering an estimated ROI of £8.30 for every £1 investment, sales grew at 4% in a declining market. M&S didn’t just outperform the market, it redefined itself.

 

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