M&S recruits comedians to boost its flagging sales
The high-street chain is manifestly hoping so, having recruited the comedians Jimmy Carr and Bob Mortimer and The Office star Martin Freeman as the new faces of its upmarket Autograph clothes collection.
Captured by the renowned photographer David Bailey in their M&S suits, the trio might, nonetheless, be regarded as more bloke next door than some of the stars who have promoted the store in the past, such as David Beckham and Joan Collins.
Steve Sharp, the marketing director, said many male customers were not keen on the stereotypical male model look, yet choosing ordinary people for adverts was difficult.
"Dove [bodycare products] have done it with a particularly successful campaign, but they're not in the fashion business and we are. These men have ordinary figures and faces and hairstyles but they are celebrities," he said.
"They're known for their honesty and their humour and they bring that honesty in a way you don't get with a fashion model or an ordinary person."
All three had been happy to take part in the promotion which begins next month, he added. "Comedians, historically, were fairly shabby in appearance, but there's a new genre that really likes to dress smartly and many of their observations are based on how people look and shop."
Jimmy Carr, who is currently at the Edinburgh festival, said: "Who doesn't wear M&S underwear? They've been 'supporting' me for years and now I'm glad I've got a suit to wear as well. Marks & Spencer is a great British institution."
The Autograph menswear line is designed by Timothy Everest and Nigel Hall with prices of £249 for a tailored suit and £39.50 for a merino wool sweater. The range is being extended from 30 stores to 180 this autumn.
Claire Beale, the editor of Campaign, the advertising industry magazine, said Marks & Spencer had enjoyed some success with the use of celebrity endorsements from Helena Christensen and Cat Deeley and were trying to repeat that for male shoppers.
"They've been clever in their choice of male celebrities because the comedians are well liked, they are more approachable and easier to relate to than some of the threatening fashion icons used by rival clothes brands," she said.
"The challenge for M&S is to put itself back on the map of the affluent younger shopper and the celebrities they've chosen will have a particular resonance with this audience."
What it will do for their respective comedy careers is quite another matter.
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery reports: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Couple die within 28 hours of each other after being married for 73 years
Ottawa shooting: Canadian soldier dies after being shot at National War Memorial – with one gunman killed inside parliament
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery reports: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Diwali 2014: What is the festival of lights and how is it celebrated around the world?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is urgently recruiting...
£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: The Job Randstad Education are ...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are recruiting...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is currently recruitin...