M&S has been trying to turn its challenged business around for some time.
But for the most part, the brand has been unsuccessful. Sales continue to decline.
The issue with M&S Food is not a brand challenge, it is based around product perceptions.
Although M&S Food is seen as good quality, it is perceived as expensive, and as such, the brand has struggled to move past nice salads and Valentines’ deals.
M&S Food’s advertising in recent years has mainly focused on objectifying food and teasing us with slow-mo shots of food sizzling, dripping and oozing. Marketing Week reports that sales of its chocolate pudding rocketed by 3,500% after starring in its ‘Not Just Any Food, This Is M&S Food’ Campaign.
It was a bit of a surprise then, to learn that M&S Food had signed a deal with ITV to sponsor the 2019 series of Britain’s Got Talent. Although the show attracts millions of viewers each episode, it’s not the kind of programme you’d expect a premium food retailer to sponsor and it’s difficult to see the connection between the M&S brand and the BGT audience.
Whilst the sponsorship might boost sales for M&S in the short-term, experts fear that it will ‘de-premiumise’ the brand in the long-term and could cause M&S to lose some of its loyal customers.
However, the brand itself is optimistic. M&S Food’s Marketing Director Sharry Carmond said: “Through this partnership we’ll be bringing M&S Food into millions of home each week, telling more families about our great value, great quality food and encouraging them to choose M&S for their Saturday night family dinner.”
At this point, we can only speculate what the outcome of the sponsorship will be for M&S.
But at least the brand is trying to change perceptions and is not afraid to take risks in order to target a new audience. A brave move!