M&S inks first TV sponsorship deal with ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent

The struggling retailer is looking to change perceptions around value and target families following a tough Christmas period where sales were down across the business.

M&S sponsors Britain's Got Talent

Marks & Spencer is making its headline TV sponsorship debut, with its food business set to sponsor the 2019 series of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent .

In a move designed to target families and change perceptions around value, idents at the beginning and end of the show and around the ad breaks will highlight a range of family-friendly M&S Food favourites. That includes pizzas, stir fries, and dishes from its new vegan range Plant Kitchen.

“What better way to get into the hearts and minds of Britain’s families than to team up with the biggest family show on TV,” says Sharry Cramond, M&S food marketing director.

“Through this partnership we’ll be bringing M&S Food into millions of home each week, telling more families about our great value, great quality food and encouraging them to choose M&S for their Saturday night family dinner.”

On the face of it, Britain’s Got Talent feels like an odd move for the premium retailer. But given its wider market challenges and ambitions to position its food as good value and not just expensive, targeting this audience could help to shift those stubborn perceptions.

According to YouGov BrandIndex, M&S Food’s value score is -3.9, putting it 24th out of 27 UK supermarkets. By comparison, for metrics such as quality, reputation, satisfaction and buzz it sits in the top three.

That value perception is now hitting its sales. For its most recent results, the 13 weeks to 29 December, like-for-like sales in its food business were down 2.1%. CEO Steve Rowe has said changing those perceptions is a key strand of its strategy to turn around performance.

The campaign, developed with media agency Mindshare, will also run on ITV 2, and social and digital platforms including the ITV Hub.

M&S’s social channels will include bespoke Britain’s Got Talent content, including an audition that will go live across Facebook and Twitter to kick off the campaign. The retailer’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds will also feature an M&S Food offer each week.

READ MORE: M&S’s move to split its creative should bring some much needed spark back

Meanwhile, the Britain’s Got Talent app will provide more information on offers and feature a game created by M&S that challenges players to prepare a dinner and complete culinary tasks such as slicing a cherry pie and creating a duck pancake.

Britain’s Got Talent, which is in its 12th year, is the UK’s largest talent competition. The 2018 series reached a peak audience of 11.2 million viewers, with the show contacted to run until 2022.

Previous sponsors have included Virgin Media and Domino’s.

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