Working Mum: M&S get it wrong with their grating schoolgirl



By Tabitha Ronson

Can Marks & Spencer get it any more wrong?

Their recent ad campaign #everymilestone, part of their Back To School clothing wear drive, focuses on the memorable milestones of a child's school life.

The idea is great. Each ad features children at different stages of their school life giving an unscripted talk on M&S schoolwear.

However, I've seen just one of the ads and that's enough to put me off from ever again buying clothing from the former retail giant. The advert cut in while I was watching a re-run of NCIS (I'm so terrestrial!)

It was so cringeworthy that I stopped to watch it. So, I suppose, in that respect Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, the creators of the campaign, have done their job, earned their big bucks. It's an advertiser's dream people actually taking notice.

I watched as a little girl, with a voice somewhere between Bill Sike's Nancy and Eliza Doolittle pre Professor Higgins makeover, described "getting dressed by myself". She fidgets, pulls up her tunic and giggles that she watches "telly" before getting dressed for school.

Who could possibly be behind this toe-curling offering? I watched to the end of the ad never having been bothered by fingernails running down a chalkboard. When the M&S logo came up, I was stunned, and disappointed.

I suppose I've come to expect something a little bit special from the well-loved brand.

Affordable aspiration. Celebrity snapper Annie Leibovitz photographing Helen Mirren and Monica Ali for the 12 Inspirational Women campaign; Rosie Huntington-Whitely and Helena Bonham Carter in the Believe In Magic & Sparkle advertising drive.

I know M&S has lost its way in recent years - it recently reported its 12th consecutive drop in quarterly sales of merchandise - but I'm not sure a campaign that's like watching a staged You've Been Framed clip but without the funny will really reverse its fortunes.

Working Mum, just heading out to John Lewis to buy Master A's new uniform.