At the awkward late 20s stage, only minorly disillusioned by living and working in London.
A few things this week:
A shout out to Johnny, we know you’re our biggest fan 😘
Someone got very excited this week when they thought I had written a post on Emmanuel Macron (I actually wrote about something even better – Macarons…. 😍)
I went to see the Vanessa Bell Exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery and it was great.
I really enjoyed the book covers Vanessa Bell designed for Virginia Woolf’s books (they were sisters, who knew).
Even greater was the gift shop, I love museum / art gallery gift shops a great amount, and the Vanessa Bell Collection is spot on – I came away with a green and blue tea towel in Vanessa’s Pamela Print.
(I am collecting art tea towels, I only have Vanessa Bell & Paul Nash ones so far, but this is a good start 😊))
I like art museum gift shops a lot so below are four items from: Dulwich Picture Gallery, Tate, V&A and The Royal Academy for you to enjoy.
2 and a half years out of University, and the glamour of London working life is fading rapidly.
M&S ‘Spend It Well’
On the merry-go-round of ad accounts, M&S made a bit of a stir last year by hopping off Rainey Kelly Campbell Rolf and hopping on with Grey London (or the newly rebranded Valenstein & Fatt if you will). Who really cares? Probably only ad people, and even they only cared if they were snubbed during the pitching process. Regardless it was a turning point, as the M&S RKCR relationship had lasted 16 years, was rumoured to be worth 60 million and most importantly invented the concept of food porn.
However this week saw the launch of their first new T.V spot by V&F which brings together their food & clothing offering together under a single tagline for the first time: ‘Spend It Well.’
The ad is a montage of a diverse people all doing various ‘liberating’ things – attending a festival, quitting their job etc. To the sound of Bowie’s ‘Rebel, Rebel’ and narrated by the silky tones of Helen McCroy – there is a definite carpe diem sentiment. The brand encourages us to remember that our time is short and that we ought to make the most of it. The way they suggest us to ‘Spend It Well,’ is by buying knickers that fit well, wearing our best clothes and eating scrummy food. These are all notions that I can’t disagree with, and I like the overall message and the visual style. The brand is clearly stepping away from its mumsy vibe and trying to be more in touch with the ‘millennials’ that all corporates so desperately crave to connect with. However it seems to me a step too far, it’s as if the brand is trying to step up to the plate with the other cool kids, but somehow loses it authenticity on the way there. Also their subtle jump on to the feminist bandwagon with acclamations of body positivity – although admirable seem misplaced within the narrative.
M&S as a brand is somewhat confused – their food offering does significantly better than their clothing, aside from arguably their underwear (honestly where else do you buy your tights?!), as their core stock is traditionally frumpy garments – something they have tried to combat recently with collaborations with ‘trendy’ people – such as the human mannequin Alexa Chung. This traditionally bland clothing offering and perception is something they are clearly trying to offset with their funky new ad . However it is a façade that fools no one. And I think it is this disconnect between product and image that makes this new ad, and its tagline feel so blatantly vapid. It is as if they have jumped from 1 to 100 on the cool-o-metre and the maths just doesn’t add up. M&S can tell me they are trendy all they like, but I almost certainly won’t be buying my next festival outfit there – cashmere just isn’t practical in the mud?
As a piece of creative it works, it looks good, it feels good and it makes you want to get up and boogie – but it feels to me better placed with a brand such as Topshop or H&M whose audience is actually young and fun.
I think M&S should take their own advice, and spend their marketing budget well, on a piece of creative that is less try hard and more authentic to themselves.
M&S you aint’ foolin anyone.
About to graduate from University, excited for intrepid adventures into the real world.
A little pic from Susan – since finishing her dissertation she has joined a Spice Girls tribute band. We shall keep you updated 😉