Will M&S Leading Ladies Campaign Deliver Leading Results?

Sunday 4 May 2014

Will M&S Leading Ladies Campaign Deliver Leading Results?

M&S recent advertising campaigns attracted a lot of criticism

Marks and Spencer leading ladies ads seem to be everywhere these days. M&S name is fresh in my head, however, I can't forget all the criticism that I read a while ago and fairly recently in Daily Mail. The newspaper criticised M&S campaigns leading to less than great sales results. To be honest, I can't remember all the details, however, it made me look at the current ads in a critical way.

Marks and Spencer leading ladies marketing campaign
M&S leading ladies advertising campaign

What does Marks & Spencer marketing director say about M&S target market?

"Marks & Spencer is a democratic brand that is relevant to women of all ages and strands of life". These are the words of Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, M&S executive director of marketing and business development.

What is the real M&S customer?

I am not sure what Patrick is trying to say, but it looks like even a child on the street would know that grannies go to M&S to buy their clothes. Recently on Wednesday I went to M&S in Oxford Street in London and there were at least 60% of all women way over 50. The rest of the crowd was middle aged. I hardly saw any people of my age or younger, that is in their twenties or early thirties. It was around lunch time and most of the other shops were buzzing with young people.

Did M&S forget to segment the market?

First of all, has M&S forgotten to segment the market? Are they trying to capture everyone? People who work in marketing know what that leads to, i.e., trying to please everyone, often means pleasing no one, but pick an ideal customer, customise your range to suit their taste and you'll be rewarded with success. 
Marts and Spencer advertising campaign
M&S advertising campaign

Secondly, what does a leading lady mean? Does it mean that she is a super star like Rita Ora and she can wear ripped jeans or whatever she likes or is it a woman in a super stylish suit in a large corporation? What clothes would a leading lady be expected to wear? Does it tell me anything about what I should expect to find in M&S store? I have no clue. The only thing I know is that I can find the clothes that the leading ladies of Britain are wearing in the campaign and, to be honest, I am not hugely impressed with what I see.

Thirdly, there is a pregnant lady, there are old and young women in the ad. Does M&S have a substantial maternity collection, do they have mini skirts for a rock star and some more reserved clothes for a mature woman?  Maybe they do, but, if you ask me honestly, I would not go to M&S to buy clothes, because I often know what type of clothes I want to buy. If I want to look and feel young and sexy, then I go to the shop that sells clothes for that type of people. If I want more formal clothes, I go to another appropriate shop.  

M&S leading ladies campaign is trying to capture the whole population. The only thing they have excluded is men, so I would advise my hubby to go shopping somewhere else. Other than that, all the women, let's run to buy clothes to M&S! They must have a corner designated specifically for each of us, and who doesn't want to be a leading lady, regardless of what that means!?

Would I go to buy clothes to M&S?

Who am I to judge? I know little about marketing, but I tell you what, even though M&S is fresh in my head, I still don't want to go and shop there, because I am confused. I see old people in the shop, but the management is saying that it is for everyone. I don't want to associate myself with grannies and I don't want to wear the same clothes by accident as the woman next door who is 75. I'll better go to H&M, Zara or Next this time. I will pop in to M&S to buy a pair of tights or socks though, as this is something I have been buying there for years.

Will the campaign deliver great results for the company? I don't know, but I doubt it.

Final word

Do you like the M&S leading ladies campaign? Do you buy clothes at M&S? When was the last time you bought something there and what was it?

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