Marks & Spencer has unveiled its "Anything But Ordinary" campaign to showcase its reshaped Autumn 21 collection, which it says is receiving "great feedback on the style & value" it offers as it hits stores and its website.
The campaign is being shared today (8 September) with the 12.5m members of the retailer's Sparks loyalty scheme who are being offered access to exclusive product today on M&S.com as well as an invitation to a virtual styling event, hosted by Marks & Spencer ambassador and television personality Holly Willoughby.
M&S has said it expects these digital events to remain important in the post-pandemic era as customers increasingly browse online for style inspiration.
All customers will be able to access the campaign tomorrow (9 September) with the campaign running across press, print ads and social platforms, such as TikTok. It is M&S's biggest clothing marketing push since the pandemic began, including the first clothing TV advert. It follows on from a bold campaign over the summer to celebrated a more inclusive approach to neutrals in its lingerie offer.
M&S says its focus for AW21 will continue to be on "style & value" with standout products in the range including its brightly coloured sweats range where every item is £15. They items are styled with on-trend chunky black boots.
Elsewhere the collection is "full of confident staple buys and seasonal product with broad appeal particularly in M&S’s hero categories of knitwear, denim, footwear, and coats". This season, M&S’s offer of more style-led jean shapes (such as Mom & Boyfriend) has increased from 4% of the range to 16%.
Hero categories have been backed – the volume of buy on padded coats is up more than 45% versus pre-pandemic and M&S has nearly 3 million womenswear jumpers to sell before Christmas (30 every hour).
Value will be emphasised across the range with more than 50% of its knitwear retailing for under £25.
Sustainability will also be underscored with all cotton used across the ranges acquired from sustainable sources while the sustainability of denim has been stepped up with lower impact sprays being used to create all faded denim that launches this season.
Online shopping has been made more sustainable with M&S’s online warehouse powered by 100% renewable energy and new paperless receipts now saving 205 tonnes of paper every year. In addition more information about a product's sustainable credentials has been included under "details & care" on the website.
More inspirational fashion layouts both online and in-store have been introduced with the "The Edit" range designed to showcase the most stylish pieces, "designed to be dressed up or down for versatile outfits".
In-store, customers will see co-ordinated zones presented on new stands and with new mannequins, while online, M&S is launching its first "shop the look" button meaning a curation can be easily purchased. These new layouts have been possible as this season, half of M&S’s clothing has been designed to match together and be part of an outfit all available from M&S, such as skirts and tops with complementary prints and colours.
While it was recently revealed that suits had been dropped from more than half of its stores, M&S said it was upping certain categories in some of its smaller format stores to better reflect how consumers are now shopping. For instance cashmere will now appear in 33 more locations, meaning half of its stores will carry this category.
Customers will see far more casual and colourful clothing in their local High Street stores – as well as a much bigger offer of "stylish items", such as dresses, where there will always be a minimum of 16 styles available.
In order to engage more with consumers, M&S will also be featuring more user-generated imagery on its website with customer and influencer photos being pulled from social media onto M&S.com when they use the hashtag #MyMarks.
Managing director of M&S Clothing & Home Richard Price said: "We’re reshaping the future of M&S Clothing with relevant product for how our customers are living and working – sustainably sourced items that offer trusted value and as our new marketing campaign shares, are ‘anything but ordinary’.
"We’re confident in our stylish product with big buys, especially within our hero categories and we’ll continue to listen to our customers feedback on our ranges.
"Alongside great products, our customers want a seamless and inspirational shopping experience whether they’re online or in-store and we’re continuing to make changes – from more casual & colourful product in smaller shops to introducing a ‘shop the look’ button on our website, making it even easier to put together stylish outfits.”