Marks & Spencer’s ‘Greatest Hits’ ad fails to lift troubled retailer’s Christmas spirits

Times are hard at Marks & Spencer as former Morrisons and Heineken boss Marc Bolland labours to attract more customers despite spending hundreds of millions on store refits (hardly evident in London as far as I can see).

What the company, the biggest UK general retailer, clearly lacks is an idea and this is startlingly clear in its new Christmas ad, ‘Greatest Hits,’ from RKCR/Y&R. M&S has pensioned off its celebs like Twiggy (although she’s apparently designing clothes for them now) and Jamie Redknapp (happens to us all Jamie, although not usually at your age) in favour of an all-singing-and-dancing totty collection (including one older model).

Now chemist-based Boots is hardly the world’s most exciting retail environment either but it does this kind of thing much better. Here’s its 2007 effort from Mother.

Womenswear has been M&S’s besetting problem for what seems like decades now. The combination of Per Una inventor George Davies and Bolland’s predecessor Stuart Rose briefly seemed to turn it round but, since the departure of both, it has slipped back into its dowdy old ways.

Why don’t they get a woman to run the bloody place?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.