Food porn ads
Dubbed the ‘food porn’ ads, the original series featured close-up images of food, normally in motion. Sauce would be poured over a dish, for example. Meanwhile, a dreamy voiceover would list the name of the dish – normally as fancy and lengthy as possible to drive the point home. In the conclusion, the voiceover would state: “This is not just food. This is M&S food.”
You don’t have to be in a food industry job, like the ones on offer here, to know the adverts. They were famous across the nation, and spawned many parodies and copycats. Now it seems that M&S are bringing the focus back to their golden advertising campaign with their own kind of self-referential parody.
The new version features everyday people in their roles at work – a train announcer, a TV salesman, and a dog walker, all of whom have been picked to be as relatable as possible.
The first advert to have been released of the new campaign lasts 60 seconds, and features a selection of M&S’ current range of dishes: Scottish salmon fillets, cauliflower cheese, the Whole Hog pizza, and Our Best Ever trifle, which was a new product released in conjunction with the advertisements.
The campaign was created by Grey London, and it went live across the M&S social media accounts first before being broadcast during the ad breaks on ITV’s This Morning. More new versions are set to follow: there will be three cropped 30-second versions and Easter and summer launches featuring their particular seasonal products shown on television.
It’s not just on the TV that you will be able to recognise this campaign, however. You will also hear 20-second radio ads, see print adverts, and spot them in stores and across their social media channels.
Director Charlie Stubbings, who was in charge of the original food porn ads, was put together with Guy Manwaring to recreate the new series. They also used the song Albatross by Fleetwood Mac as the backing track as a nod to the original.
The original campaign was very successful. Launched back in 2005, it featured their Melting Middle Chocolate pudding. This particular product saw sales increase by 3500% after the ad aired, an incredible return.
M&S have been struggling recently, which sees them trying now to broaden their appeal to more family shoppers. Food sales dropped like for like by 2.4% over Christmas, which should usually be one of their strongest periods.
The retailer has also sponsored Britain’s Got Talent this year to engage more customers, and their employees are also starting to wear badges which feature their favourite M&S product. If you’re interested in joining them, you can sign up for food job alerts here.
“We’re excited to bring back the iconic strapline, which we know our customers and colleagues love and over the years it’s become part of the nation’s vocabulary,” an M&S spokeswoman told The Grocer. “We’ve modernised the campaign to represent how we’re transforming our food business and have shifted to a more light-hearted tone, showing scenarios that mirror everyday food moments in our customers’ lives to make it more relatable and engaging.”
They are also using the hashtag #mymarksfave across social media to encourage customers to share which M&S products are their favourites. This is part of their first ever social media-only campaign.