M&S makes first TV ads

Marks and Spencer, the UK's biggest retailer, has launched its first TV advertising campaign - to promote financial services.

The multi-million pound nationwide campaign features two ads promoting M&S personal loans. In one, a mother is driven to distraction by her son always borrowing the family car. To solve the problem, she takes out a loan to buy a new car. In the second, a young woman buys a piano with the help of an M&S loan.

A spokesman said that the group had found that many customers were unaware of the group's financial services. "If asked, most of them just mentioned the store charge card," he said. There are no plans to advertise M&S food or clothing.

One of the first stores groups into the financial services sector, M&S now sells unit trusts, personal pensions, standard term assurance and personal loans.

The new campaign was piloted in selected regions last October. Robert Colvill, managing director of financial services at Marks and Spencer, said the decision to go ahead with a national campaign came after the "excellent response" to the pilot.

Last week, the group announced record results, with profits breaking pounds 1bn for the first time. Financial services made pounds 76m. Since it launched personal loans in 1988, M&S has lent more than pounds 2bn and currently has more than pounds 645m in loans on its balance sheet.