Reclaiming ‘this is not just food…’ for a new age

Mindshare UK

Client: M&S

M&S’s “This is not just…” campaign ran for only three years yet is one of the most iconic lines in advertising. Its legacy was an entrenched position atop grocery market quality rankings, but also a specialism that limited customers to thinking of M&S for special occasions and ready meals. This threatened the business in an age of resurgent behemoths and insurgent newcomers.

The task of broadening appeal while protecting quality perceptions was defined as “protect the magic, update the rest”. The magic was in the “This is not just…” line, which was reclaimed and refreshed. Updating the rest meant making M&S relevant to more people for more types of food, with media key. Media placed the ‘This is not just…’ relaunch campaign in popular family viewing environments, created a sense of occasion with OOH specials and amplified the campaign in ways unimaginable during the original incarnation of the line. Sponsorship of Britain’s Got Talent brought a huge range of M&S food into millions of family homes, with idents voiced by Ant & Dec and massive in-store activation. Finally a ‘Fresh Market Update’ ran as a weekly series of 60” films in ITV Weather, with each series featuring a different M&S supplier. In three years from 2019-21 M&S grew faster than a growing market, saw share gain in the key target categories, broadened customer appeal, enhanced quality credentials, dramatically increased revenue ROI and trebled the profit from advertising. This is not just success…this is M&S success.