NEWS: Marks and Spencer set to test TV spots in northern region

Marks and Spencer, currently at the centre of speculation that it is about to become an advertising heavyweight, has gone on to TV for the first time in its history.

Marks and Spencer, currently at the centre of speculation that it is

about to become an advertising heavyweight, has gone on to TV for the

first time in its history.



Britain’s biggest retailer is testing the water with a four-week direct

response campaign in the North of England to generate leads for its

growing personal loans business.



The company says it is breaking the habit of a lifetime and turning to

TV to maintain and expand its financial services in an increasingly

competitive market.



Created by WWAV Rapp Collins, M&S’s television debut takes the form of

two 30-second commercials that take a light-hearted look at people’s

reasons for taking out a loan.



In one, a pair of doting parents watch their daughter perform a

seductive version of Falling in Love Again while reclining on top of her

new piano.



In the other, a young student learning to drive provokes nightmare

thoughts in his mother when he suggests he might take a course in stunt

driving.



The films were art directed by Chris Albert, written by Sandra Money and

directed by David Smith through Smith Hadfield.



The commercials will run on Channel 4 North and in the Yorkshire and

Tyne Tees region for the next four weeks.



Richard Waugh, the M&S Financial Services head of marketing, said the

films were designed to make people aware that M&S provided loans at

attractive rates and that the loans could be spent anywhere and not just

in M&S stores.



The television campaign comes 12 years after M&S entered the financial

services market with the launch of its first charge card. Since then it

has extended its activities into unit trusts and PEPs and during the

past eight years has loaned more than pounds 1.5 billion to almost

600,000 customers.



Earlier this month, it was disclosed that M&S had seen presentations

from a number of London agencies with a view to increasing its current

pounds 2 million-plus adspend (Campaign, 4 October).



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