M&S tries new trick for food ads

Marks & Spencer has changed tack on its food advertising and launched a national TV campaign featuring customer testimonials.

The switch follows disappointing recent food sales, but had been planned for some time.

M&S's Food Love campaign makes the retailer the latest in a raft of store groups to feature customers in ads. In the past, M&S focused more on print advertising and specific product lines in its food campaigns, rather than the generic offer.

The latest initiative also takes in national papers and radio to exploit the 'emotional attachment' that research shows customers have with its food, according to a spokeswoman.

'The aim of Food Love is to encourage people who love the quality and innovation of M&S's food to shop with us every day, not just on special occasions,' the retailer said.

The five customers in the ads were recruited from thousands of hopefuls contacted through the group's loyalty database or who responded to in-store leaflets, she said.

'What the customer thinks carries more power than anything else,' said Verdict chairman Richard Hyman.

Food Love will run throughout this year and next, and was created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe. The retailer would not reveal how much is being spent on the campaign.

In the 11 weeks to March 27, M&S's like-for-like food sales in the UK dropped by 1.4 per cent.