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M&S digital drive continues with extensive social media campaign

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has added to its raft of digitally-led announcements by revealing details of a new social media campaign.

The monthly film called ‘What’s New at M&S Food’ began on Sunday 9 September and will showcase to customers how the retailer brings new products to market on a regular basis.

Celebrities Amanda Holden, Rochelle Humes, Paddy McGuinness and Emma Willis will feature in the unscripted film series, which is due to run throughout the autumn, are described by M&S as its “four super-samplers”. They will meet up each month to sample a selection of the new products M&S launches before choosing their individual favourites.

M&S’s first film showed the celebrities eating M&S Food’s newly relaunched Italian collection. Different M&S ranges will be the focus of future broadcasts, and all four celebrities say they are M&S Food shoppers.

Sharry Cramond, M&S Food marketing director, commented: “We know that our customers all have their firm M&S favourites, but they don’t always see just how many amazing new products our talented chefs develop and launch every month.

“What better way to highlight our innovation than getting some of the nation’s favourite celebrities together to taste them?”

New-style ads

The campaign includes M&S Food’s first ever use of Instagram TV (IGTV). The company said that the whole film series was made especially for this new content stream and represents the first time M&S Food has created social-first video content.

M&S said the content has not been edited for social in post-production; instead, the brief was to produce engaging video that would live only on social media platforms.   

Alongside yesterday’s IGTV launch, the content was also displayed on YouTube and Facebook. The celebrities will also share the videos on their personal social platforms to help boost the reach of the campaign.

In store, there will be point of sale ads highlighting the celebrities’ favourite new dishes and encouragements to customers to share their favourite M&S items using the hashtag #MyMarksFave.

The second episode of the series will launch on M&S’s Instagram and Facebook channels in the first week of October.

Digital-first?

At the start of the year, M&S CEO Steve Rowe spoke of the need to become a “digital-first” retailer. In the months since, the retailer has embarked on a number of initiatives in support of that promise.

Those include teaming up with Decoded to improve data science understanding among staff, and collaborating with True and Founders Factory in the hope the business can find new innovative start-ups to work alongside. The business also agreed a significant artificial intelligence partnership with Microsoft to explore new technologies.

Last week, M&S launched what it described as its “most digital marketing campaign to date” which will focus on digital channels including video on demand services, Google Advertising and Instagram.

The business also appointed Jeremy Pee, who is currently senior vice president at Canadian grocer Loblaw, to the newly created role of chief digital & data officer. He is due to join M&S on 3 December, when he will take responsibility for leading new digital customer-facing initiatives and developing and embedding a digital culture across the organisation.

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