U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer is hoping to revive clothing sales this Christmas with a funky, dance-based ad campaign that's strikingly different from last year's glossy, celebrity-filled effort.
The retailer, which this week announced a sharp fall in fashion sales, earlier this year appointed fashion-focused creative agency Odd to handle clothing and homewares (with Grey still handling food) and the new approach shows. The agency has come up with a spot focused on one category—knitwear—and secured the talents of music video vet Jake Nava, who directed Beyonce's "Single Ladies" video.
The result is an energetic spot featuring a diverse bunch of adults, kids and even dogs doing a specially devised "shoulder roll" dance to the House of Pain track "Jump Around." It's reminiscent of '90s Gap ads and also recalls both Kenzo's infamous 2016 Margot Qualley ad and Apple's FKA Twigs spot (both directed by Spike Jonze). Also, there isn't a celebrity in sight—in fact, one of the dancers featured in the ad is an M&S employee.
The campaign will run across multiple platforms, including digital out-of-home, print and social media as well as the TV spot and online content. Nathan Ansell, Marks & Spencer's clothing & home marketing director, said outdoor was an increasingly important medium for the company as 70 per cent of Google searches for M&S products are now made on mobile.
"Right from the start, we knew we wanted to do things a little differently," said Nick Stickland, founder and executive director at Odd in a statement. "We weren't interested in making a three minute film—it was about creating content that could tell the story across all of M&S' media channels. We also knew we didn't want to be too sentimental; we were far more focused on making the nation jump for joy."
Clothing sales will be key for Marks & Spencer this Christmas; the company has recently made huge efforts to bring more fashionable items into stores after a "difficult summer." Sweaters, or "jumpers" as they are known in the U.K., are a key item—Ansell predicted the retailer would sell six million of them this Christmas.