Retail Solutions - M&S credit card woos customers with a whisper

Marks and Spencer is hoping the marketing of its new credit card will go better than the launch, which was overshadowed by the Office of Fair Trading slapping the retailer's wrists over the way the card was sent out.

Originally, M&S planned to upgrade existing store card holders to the new credit card automatically. However, the OFT ruled against such 'inertia selling', and customers must now write to M&S in order to activate their new credit card.

Despite the problems, M&S is using so-called whispering windows technology to encourage more people to sign up to the card.

Eleven flagship stores including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Marble Arch, are piloting the system, from Newlands Scientific, which turns any store window into a loudspeaker.

Store windows, fitted out with cameras, will play the advertisement to potential customers as they pass by.