Pump Fiction: Mother London Marries M&S's Rich Advertising Heritage With Modern Splendour

Jason Papp
May 23, 2024

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LONDON - In October 2023, Marks & Spencer (M&S) selected Mother London as its new creative agency for the UK clothing business, signalling a bold new direction for the brand. The agency's latest campaign, 'Pump Fiction: Keep Your Cool This Summer,' exemplifies this shift with a stylish and contemporary approach. 

Mother London says, “M&S is calling on the UK to keep its cool this summer with the launch of its 2024 summer campaign as the retailer continues its journey to broaden appeal and elevate style perceptions.”

This new partnership welcomes a transformative era for M&S, marked by a confident departure from its 'dated fashion' image. The strategic selection of music, vibrant colours, and well chosen actors in 'Pump Fiction' all communicate the rejuvenated brand identity that resonates with the next generation of consumers.

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Anna Braithwaite, M&S Marketing Director – Clothing & Home, said: “Summer is a time when our customers are prioritising socialising and making the most of the warmer weather and the lighter evenings. It’s also a time when we want to have a bit of fun with our wardrobe. We want effortless style, versatile pieces for day-to-night dressing and pops of colour to reflect the mood of the season. So, this year we’ve bottled up everything we know our customers love about summer and added a dash of poolside glamour to create a vibrant and infectious campaign serving up style inspiration that will be impossible to miss!”

The campaign also boasts fresh Dior-esque OOH and print ads. It feels like Mother London has expertly mined M&S's rich advertising heritage, infusing it with modern flair and vibrant energy. This approach not only respects the brand's legacy but also reinvents it for today's market, showcasing M&S as a forward-thinking yet tradition-conscious brand. 

The campaign evokes memories of classic ads, such as the 1988 series with taglines like "Marks & Step Aside" and "Marks & Spicy," combined with the slogan "Have you been to Marks & Spencer lately?" 

And the 2017 "Spend it Well" campaign. By celebrating rather than discarding its heritage, M&S leverages its storied past to build a vibrant future.

After a revamp of its shops and clothing range, Marks & Spencer returned to the FTSE 100 index in late 2023 after a four-year absence, following a surge in the retailer's share price. Chief Executive Stuart Machin reflected on this achievement in an interview with the BBC, stating, "Our return to the FTSE 100 is a testament to our relentless hard work. Moving forward, we are focused on maintaining our positive momentum and delivering value to our customers and shareholders."

The campaign was developed by Mother, with the film directed by Tanu Muino, best known for creating music videos for Harry Styles, Lil Nas X, Cardi B, Sam Smith and, most recently, Dua Lipa.

And this M&S-Mother London partnership underscores the importance of aligning creative vision with brand heritage while trusting your agency to help embrace modernity. It illustrates how advertising informed by a clear understanding of both business direction and consumer needs can drive growth, reaching a new set of consumers. 

With Maddy Evans, formerly of Topshop, now leading womenswear since 2022, the focus on understanding and delivering what the modern mainstream customer wants has been central to the turnaround. Evans describes the customer as “modern mainstream” – “it isn’t about age, it’s more attitudinal,” emphasising the brand's commitment to relevance and customer satisfaction.

Hiring a creative agency that understands the business's heritage and its future direction, coupled with ongoing evaluations of their offerings, positions M&S for an exciting and successful period ahead.

Credits:

Brand: M&S Clothing and Home

Client: Anna Braithwaite, Marketing Director - Clothing and Home

Creative agencies: Mother and Mother Design

Photographer: Luca Campri @ WSM

Director: Tanu Muiño

Production Company: Riff Raff

RR Producer: Maurizio Von Trapp

RR EP: Tracey Cooper

Production Designer: Helen Gadjilova

Sound House: King Lear

Sound engineer: Jack Sedgwick

Post House: BlackKite

Post House Producer: Tamara Mennell

VFX Lead: Paul Wilmot

Colour: Joseph Bicknell at Company 3

Music: Pump up the Jam by Technotronic - Universal Music

Campaign Stylist: Sam Ranger

Media: Mindshare

Jason Papp
Founder & Editor-in-chief