Wednesday, 20 May 2009

This is no ordinary promotion...

I guess this joke will be lost on all non-British TV watching folk but it's the tagline for Marks & Spencers, one of the UK's biggest retailers. 125 years ago, a Jewish man in Manchester set up a penny stall to sell household bits and bobs. From this, M&S grew to become the darling of the British high street providing good quality basics in clothes, homeware and food. They even dabbled in the US when they bought Brooks Brothers, but they've since let that one go. Their international dreams cost them their domestic focus and they lost share in their customers' wallets to the likes of Tesco, Topshop etc.

But now, M&S are on a charm offensive headed up by Sir Stuart Rose - who has quite the illustrious history himself. He's not been very popular, but he always wears an M&S suit when he does public and shareholder appearances - I know that's pretty trivial but you would be surprised by how many CEOs preach about the quality of their products but don't choose to invest in the lifestyle they're trying to sell (a bit like Wagoner, Nardelli and Mulally choosing private jets!). Do what you want on your own time, but don't think that you're better than your consumers and they will keep coming to your store if you look down on your own products!

Now, TV adverts show Twiggy and Erin O'Connor prancing about in meadows wearing and eating M&S. To top it off, they are celebrating their 125th birthday by going back to their Penny Bazaar roots and offering a selection of 20 items for the princely sum of 1p (about 1.5c). I think this is a great marketing idea and ties in well to the current frugal lifestyle we are all trying to adopt. But take a look at these comments to a newspaper article - there's just no pleasing some people. As for me, I'm off to do my Christmas shopping for the next 20 years!


  1. My hubby works at Abercrombie and Fitch which also owns Holister. They opened a Londen store last year which is doing great.

    It's a tough year for clothing retailers. It the stores have a good back to school season... then I will know our economy is truly coming out of the recession.

  2. Gee...some people are just never happy.

  3. I'm happy! Ihave no idea what you are talking about, but I am one happy Blogginfreak! LMCO! (Cornea)