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Drapers Comment: M&S and Jaeger pull out all the stops for autumn 15

If you opened a copy of The Sunday Times at the weekend, chances are promotional supplements fell into your lap from two very British retailers: Jaeger and Marks & Spencer.

Both have a lot riding on their autumn 15 campaigns and they have gone all out, with M&S describing this as its “most extensive” for fashion to date. The newspaper supplements are accompanied by yet more print ads, as well as TV and digital.

M&S’s 32-page The Art of Style guide shows off the quality of the product, demonstrating the kind of high street lux you hope to find in the retailer. It includes four trend edits for autumn 15: modern muse (a twist on the classic 60s look), Parisian style, shades of autumn and boho chic. Six TV ads will also run throughout the season. The first, which aired for the first time on September 2, applies the M&S ‘food porn’ approach to fashion. It opens with a sheep whose coat explodes off, followed by close-ups of needles, thread and measuring tapes, while someone off camera throws brightly coloured paint at models in M&S clothing.

The emphasis is on craftsmanship and sustainable sourcing, as well as fashion. The choice of Mark Ronson’s overplayed Uptown Funk as the soundtrack lacks inspiration, but the ad is recognisably M&S and lands several key messages. It is also a refreshing departure from the Annie Leibovitz print ads starring famous British women.

Like M&S, Jaeger highlights its craftsmanship and the quality of its product in its print supplement, noting where it sources its wool (a 150-year-old family-run business in Australia called Gostwyck) and has it spun (Johnstons of Elgin). The Jaeger Guide to Autumn/Winter 15 is much slimmer than M&S’s offer, at eight pages, but it still packs a clear message. Jaeger is about two years into its five-year turnaround plan, which includes broadening its appeal to a younger, more contemporary shopper – and the print campaign is a move towards this. ‘Style influencers’ including model/retailer Jasmine Guinness, head of curatorial at the Design Museum Donna Loveday, film producer Will Spicer, textile designer Kit Miles and chef Ollie Dabbous pick out their must-haves from the new collection.

Again, like M&S, the Jaeger supplement has a section labelled ‘modern muse’, but this time it’s in reference to the models fronting Jaeger’s campaign: Elisa Sednaoui for womenswear and James Penfold for menswear. The black and white cover shots of Sednaoui and Penfold are, recognisably, by David Bailey, whose relationship with Jaeger stretches as far back as 1962, when he photographed model Jean Shrimpton in a suede Jaeger coat for British Vogue. Back in July, Jaeger’s chief exec Colin Henry said the autumn 15 campaign would show people “where the brand is going”, and its mix of heritage (using Bailey, highlighting the link with Johnstons of Elgin) and modernity (the choice of models and more contemporary product/styling) does just that.

M&S’s marketing team is also doing its best to change the perception of its product, which critics say is outdated, and the new print and TV ads do make you want to go there and shop. But, while the TV ad has a strong strapline – ‘Only one store does it like this’ – the reality is not all of its stores do it the same way. It is a fresh, confident campaign; now the pressure is on the rest of the M&S team to create a store experience that matches it.  

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