M&S launches reshaped clothing range with big campaign
M&S has unveiled its AW21 fashion collection and unlike previous collection debuts, the offer is big on affordable and stylish comfort and less focused on higher-end star pieces. It comes with a new campaign called Anything but ordinary.
The campaign has launched to its 12.5 million Sparks loyalty customers first, offering them exclusive access to the hero products and free access to join a virtual styling event.
The campaign kicks off more widely as of Thursday and “takes inspiration from the anything but ordinary trusted quality of M&S product”.
It runs across all customer channels – from press, print ads to TikTok, “and is the biggest clothing marketing push since the pandemic began, including the first clothing TV advert”.
The looks themselves demonstrate “the continuation of M&S’s strategy to focus on both style & trusted value. This strategy is demonstrated best in standout products such as the quality sweats where every item is £15”. These sweats come in “bold, optimistic” colours, as well as the popular black, grey, and navy.
The company said the collection “is full of confident staple buys and seasonal product with broad appeal - particularly in hero categories of knitwear, denim, footwear, and coats”.
Its style-led jean shapes (such as Mom & Boyfriend) have increased from 4% of the range to 16% and it said “hero categories have been backed – the volume of buy on padded coats is up more than 45% versus pre-pandemic and M&S has nearly 3 million womenswear jumpers to sell before Christmas”.
And this year, over half of its women’s knitwear buy is under £25, “yet retains the quality fabric, fit and finish M&S is known for”, it said, focusing on its value credentials.
Interestingly, the company is also taking tentative steps to revive the St Michael label that was axed 21 years ago. It appears on a couple of menswear pieces and comes as the label has proved popular in the vintage market.
The company added that “with customer consciousness to protect the planet at an all-time high, M&S has doubled down on its sustainability credentials for the season”. As well as initiatives like using lower-impact sprays to create all faded denim that launches this season, its online warehouse is powered by 100% renewable energy and it has new paperless receipts.
As far as the retail experience is concerned, M&S said that across online and in-store, this season it’s presenting a more inspirational layout for customers. In-store, they’ll see co-ordinated zones on new stands and with new mannequins, while online, M&S is launching its first ‘shop the look’ button. Half of the clothing has been designed to match this season and be part of an outfit available from M&S.
And it said it has “reset the product offer in smaller stores to better reflect how customers shop”. Its cashmere will now be in 33 more locations, and “customers will see far more casual and colourful clothing on their local high streets – as well as a much bigger offer of stylish items, such as dresses, where there will always be a minimum of 16 styles available”.
Online, with 80% of customers now doing some clothing shopping via this channel, there will be more user generated imagery.
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