Last week, Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland announced the first drop in full-year profits for the retailer since 2009, which was influenced by a distinct downturn in sales of womenswear.
Bolland puts it down to shoppers' lack of faith in the UK economy and rainfall of what has seemed like biblical proportions over the past six weeks. It's a warning to marketers who seek to appropriate the 'Great British Summer' in the service of their brand - the weather cannot be relied on.
One of M&S' most recent TV outings features Gary Barlow singing Here Comes the Sun as he basks in the glow of a campfire, while Twiggy and Myleene Klass frolic in a hazy meadow. Knowing what we know now of the April/May deluge, this homage to sunshine seems a little premature, if not hubristic.
Fortunately, this 128-year-old bastion of the high street can now turn to Gurkha poster girl and Our Lady of Lost Causes Joanna Lumley to speak on behalf of fairness and value and get M&S doing what it does best: championing common sense.
This TV spot won't appear top of the director's reel, but comprehension is the name of the game, and Lumley is pitch perfect. As a manifesto to introduce a big idea, it does its job of explaining what 'shwopping' is, while exploiting Lumley's campaigning credentials brilliantly.
'Shwopping' is a stroke of genius, forcing something rare: a genuine change in shopping behaviour. If you have something you don't want, you can drop it at M&S when you buy something you do; the aim is for it to recycle as many clothes as it sells.
Not only will you get the extra reward of donating to Oxfam, you also get shot of an item that's been silently nagging you from the back of the wardrobe. What's more, unlike similar collection schemes, M&S takes all the hassle out of it as 'shwoppers' can simply use the drop box by the till in one of its stores.
There is one missed opportunity - perhaps M&S could have rewarded their customers' shwopping with vouchers. Still, the concept makes an important statement about the brand - it's not just about selling more stuff, it's about exercising responsibility through equalisation. It makes us all feel a whole lot better about life, and M&S' role in it.
Goodness me: looking outside, I see the sun's started to shine again ...
Brand strategy verdict: 7 out of 10
This ad shows Marks & Spencer giving shoppers real emotional value.
However, the campaign strategy could have gone further by rewarding their engagement financially.
|Adwatch: Top 20 recall|
|2=||(–)||Aviva||Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/
|6=||(–)||Marks & Spencer||Adjust Your Set, RKCR Y&R/
|8=||(–)||Currys/PC World||M&C Saatchi/Walker Media||37|
|10||(–)||Ben & Jerry's||Amalgamated/Mindshare||34|
|12||(-)||Asda||Saatchi & Saatchi/Carat||30|
|13=||(-)||Domino's Pizza||Big Communications/
|16=||(-)||Burton's Dodgers||VCCP/Universal McCann||24|
|18=||(-)||Dreams||Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe
|20||(-)||Wrigley's Extra Ice||AMV BBDO/
|Webwatch: Top 20 recall|
|Latest||Apr-25||Brand||Agency/ TV Buyer||Recall|
|4||-1||Virgin Media||Bartle Bogle Hegarty/
|5||(–)||Currys/PC World||Positive Digital/
|6=||(–)||British Gas||Waste Creative/
|9||(–)||BT||Abbott Mead Vickers
|12=||(-)||Nissan Juke||TBWA London + Digitas/
|12=||(-)||WeightWatchers||Razorfish + Saatchi &
|14=||(-)||My Debt Solution||eProspect/In-house||10|
|14=||(-)||Open University||20:20 + Matrix/
|17=||(5=)||Tesco||The Red Brick Road/
|17=||(-)||Mercedes E-Class SE||Weapon7/Maxus||9|
|19||(-)||Volvo Selekt Dealerships||EHS 4D/Mindshare||8|
|20||(-)||Coi Blood Donation||DLKW Lowe/M4C||7|