RKCR/Y&R hymns summer for M&S but a turnaround there needs more than ads

The internet has already laid waste to swathes of the UK print industry and, finally, it’s wreaking havoc on the high street.

The BHS debacle is partly due to business moving online – but only partly – while even Next, the best multichannel retailer, is struggling this year.

In a way this helps the new regime at Marks & Spencer, which has seen its clothes sales ebb away in recent years. Provided its sales don’t suddenly tank dramatically (and there’s no guarantee of that) it won’t look the odd one out any more.

In such circumstances one of the jobs of advertising is to keep your end up and the newish campaign from agency RKCR/Y&R – ‘the Art Of’ (in this case summer) – seems designed to do just that.

So we have models in floaty thingies, kids and even blokes squeezed into 30 seconds. Luckily for them the sun has finally come out to coincide with the start of the campaign.

Ads can only do so much, of course. M&S stores are so bloody boring, despite the previous regime – under departing CEO Marc Bolland – supposedly spending billions on them. I went into the cafe in one of their Oxford Street stores the other week and it was shocking. Dowdy and utilitarian with one woman taking the orders and money – astonishingly slowly – while others stood around uselessly.

Any Caffe Nero branch manager could have improved it 100 per cent in five minutes. Do M&S executives ever visit their stores?

MAA creative scale: 6.

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