M&S follows House of Pain with Donna Summer in denim drive

Latest TV ad features dancers moving to 1977's I Feel Love.

M&S: releasing campaign just before Valentine's
M&S: releasing campaign just before Valentine's

Marks & Spencer is today launching its first TV ad specifically promoting its denim range, in a sequel to its festive spot that once again sees a cast of characters dancing to a classic hit.

While "Go jumpers" and "Go pyjamas" during Christmas featured House of Pain’s Jump Around, the new film, "Start a denim love affair", opts for Donna Summer’s 1977 track I Feel Love, which is credited with laying the groundwork for the explosion of dance music that followed in the late 1970s and 1980s. The song is accompanied by a group of denim-clad free spirits dancing in a field shortly after sunrise.

Speaking to Campaign, M&S clothing and home marketing director Nathan Ansell said the choice of track was influenced by the campaign’s release shortly before Valentine’s Day but, along with the title and strapline, was also a reference to the fact that consumers often stuck with a single retailer for jeans, due to the difficulty of finding a fit they like.

The work, by Odd, was created by Nick Stickland, Turhan Osman and Emma Jordan, and directed by Natalie Rae through Object & Animal, and the media agency is Mindshare.

It is the third denim campaign M&S has run in the past year, but the first to include TV. As well as appearing in thematically related shows such as Love Island, Love it or List it and First Dates, the campaign will also run across out-of-home, cinema, print and social media, with 97% of M&S's target customers expected to see the campaign an average of 13 times. 

The activity aims to tackle the discrepancy that, although M&S is the UK market leader for womenswear denim, it ranks only fourth when consumers are asked to name a brand for denim. 

"Despite the fact we’re market leader, we’re not always front of mind," Ansell said. Describing it as a "killer category" for M&S, he said: "It’s a bit of an outfit builder – because it’s a category with quite high loyalty if you find a fit you love."

"Start a denim love affair" aims to communicate a range of factors, Ansell said, including the retailer’s competitive prices, its sustainability credentials, which include the majority of its cotton being certified by the Better Cotton Initiative, and the product range, including its "magic jean", made with bi-stretch denim that has a sculpting effect.

Although M&S’s clothing and home sales fell once again in the last three months of 2019, Ansell was extremely positive on the impact of the Christmas campaign, which he pointed out was in the top 2% of all 2019 ads for engagement, according to Kantar data.

Ansell confirmed that I Feel Love could be followed by other classic tracks later in the year. "We’re so pleased with how ‘Jumpers’ landed for us. It [the new campaign] is a little more style-oriented, but if the comms continues to have the success, it’s our intention to dance our way through 2020."

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