Read our new manifesto

Now available on-demand

Get inspired. Find solutions. Harness the power of digital marketing.

Featuring Speakers from

Agencies 4 Growth Festival Logo
Agencies 4 Growth Festival Logo
Agencies 4 Growth Festival Logo

M&S harks back to food porn days ahead of critical Christmas period

You may not be anywhere near the office water cooler right now, but we still want to spotlight the most talked about creative from the brands that should be on your radar. Today, everyone is talking about M&S's food porn.

Harking back to Marks and Spencer's (M&S) food porn days, this isn't just any Christmas ad, this is an M&S Christmas Food ad, and the viewer is left a dribbling mess by its appeal.

Pushing its Christmas range ahead of its critical sales period, M&S has teamed up with nine beloved celebs: Olivia Coleman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Eddie Redmayne, Gillian Anderson, Dame Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons, Dame Julie Walters, Naomie Harris, and Tom Hardy, who will each voice a different food porn ad.

Created by Grey London, M&S will release one ad per week on the run-up to the Christmas period. Like John Lewis, M&S has put charity fundraising at the heart of its campaign, pledging two million pounds to charities handpicked by the nine celebs.

The first spot, which goes live today (6 November), is voice by Coleman and sees the Oscar-winner smoothly talk the viewer through M&S' glittering 'Light Globe Gin Liqueur', its tantalising chocolate panettone, its collection of mini beef and porcini Yorkshire puds and its sliced smoked salmon. Her choice of charities are Anthony Nolan, Back Up, and Tender Education & Arts.

M&S revived its food porn ads last year after a 12-year hiatus, putting a modern twist on the famous strapline: 'This is Not Just Food... This is M&S Food'. By broadening the appeal of M&S Food, the retailer was hoping the comeback will stave off slumping sales, which fell by 2.1% over the crucial Christmas trading period in 2018. However, any dreams of regaining strength were lost in the hands of the ongoing pandemic, which has hit it harder than most. It has racked up a half-year pre-tax loss of £87.6m on the back of lockdown restrictions and broader economic uncertainty.

As the ongoing pandemic continues to hit businesses hard, the pressure is on M&S's Food business to pull the rest of the business through this crucial Christmas period. Which explains M&S's decision to cap a difficult 2020 by foregoing a big TV Christmas spectacular for its clothing and home division, in favour of a series of low key search, radio and social media ads.

Last year it made the bold decision to appoint indie shop ODD to oversee clothing, splinter its advertising between food and non-food accounts. However, the approach was unable to elevate its slumping sales.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis