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Simply mouth-watering: what M&S tells us about great marketing

Posted on Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Simply mouth-watering: what M&S tells us about great marketing

If you’ve watched any TV recently, you may have caught the new M&S food adverts. They’re the ones with the spinning eggs, the exploding berries and the irresistibly catchy tune.

As a copywriter, I naturally take great interest in how companies market themselves and this latest campaign from one of the UK’s top retailers is among their best yet.

The 60-second ads show a series of quick-fire, close-up shots of M&S food to the soundtrack of one of the most popular songs of 2014, ‘Rather Be’ by Clean Bandit.

Within a day of the M&S campaign going live online, the ads had already notched up more than one million views on YouTube. M&S even had to double production of its delectable Jaffa orange bombe, one of the stars of the ads, to keep up with the resultant surge in demand.

Marketing at its best

So, what makes these adverts so popular? You won’t see any dancing girls, celebrity endorsements or hard sell in this campaign. Instead, you simply see delicious prawns sizzling on a barbeque, cheese melting over a chargrilled burger, mouth-watering profiteroles covered in chocolate sauce and a whole host of other edible delights.

The ads were put together by a small team of five in a small room in Paris, working with just a table covered in a black cloth and lots of M&S food. There are no expensive special effects, computer animations or voice-overs. The only trickery is some very clever use of time-lapse photography and a straw (to blow the little green pea across the screen at the end of the ads). Take a look here: www.14dd5266c70789bdc806364df4586335-gdprlock/watch?v=PZ4pctQMdg4

What’s crucial is that the ads focus on what’s important to M&S customers, namely the food, rather than any expensive gimmicks or sales strategies. In short, it’s the simplicity of the adverts that makes them so entrancing.

Clear and simple copywriting

You can, of course, apply the same philosophy to almost any kind of marketing. As a copywriter, I’m sometimes brought in by prospective customers to review their existing marketing strategies and offer feedback. Often, it’s the complex nature of a customer’s existing website or overall marketing that is letting them down.

So, my first job is generally to take a step back and look at how to strengthen – and simplify – their messaging to target their marketing more effectively. Research shows that the average web user has an attention span lasting just eight seconds. So, you have very limited time to ‘sell’ your products or services to prospective customers.

That’s why it’s vital to convey your message in a clear, direct and simple manner – just like the M&S ads. It’s not rocket science but it could make all the difference between whether or not you clinch a deal.

If you’d like to find out more about our clear and simple approach to marketing and copywriting, contact Karen Bright at Bright Words on 07767 252464.