Marks & Spencer's first work from Grey London since it won the 60-million-pound account last year signals a fresh and modern approach from the retailer, with a theme centered on living your life well and saying "no" to things that aren't good enough.
The first TV spot, charmingly directed by FranÃ§ois Rousselet of Riff Raff Films, opens with an image of a baby and the words (narrated by "Harry Potter" actor Helen McCrory): "Someone wise once said, life's short. And spending it well isn't always about saying yes; it's about having the conviction to say no."
This "saying no" continues with several examples: refusing to wear uncomfortable knickers, clothes that "cost the earth," shoes that hurt your feet and disappointing dinners. Mingled in with those reminders of Marks & Spencer's brand values (the retailer is known for, among other things, reliable underwear and high-quality packaged meals) are other "no-nos" from modern life: phones at the dinner table, friends who don't show up for social occasions, envying people who look better than you.
For good measure, also thrown in are people going on protest marches, an older woman on a diving board (which reminds us of recent ads by Apple and Merck) and an old and a young woman enjoying a road-trip together. It ends with the words "You only get one life. Spend it well." The soundtrack of the ad is a new arrangement of David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel," and post is by MPC.
The spot marks the first time M&S has united both its food and clothing divisions under a single tagline and, according to a statement by the agency, it "introduces an inspirational tone of voice for the brand, and focuses on attitude and empowerment."
Certainly, it takes Marks & Spencer in a different direction from previous work by RKCR/Y&R that focused separately on food, with the Adventures in... campaign, and clothes. Its underlying theme of mindfulness feels modern, and reminds us of several recent ads including Volvo's "The Getaway Car."
The ad broke first on social media last night and then on ITV's "Good Morning Britain" morning show, supported by a "Spend it Well" takeover of the "Daily Mail" homepage.
Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director of customer, marketing & M&S.com, said in a statement: "Our 'Spend it Well' campaign is a radical departure from where we've been previously. It speaks to deep truths about our customers -- based on a huge amount of research and listening - and celebrates their lives in a way which is new and innovative for the brand. To remain relevant and attract new customers, we need to get people thinking differently about M&S and recapture our position as a pioneer in culture."