John Lewis vs Marks & Spencers – which is the more loveable brand?

M&S and John Lewis. Two brands we’ve grown up with and two companies who have endured stiff competition in the face of recession and the trend of cheap, Primark- style consumerism. So how have they succeeded in creating brands which have remained firm household names for decades? It’s all in the marketing....
Good old Marks and Sparks (as my mum always called them) had a bit of an epiphany with their marketing a few years ago. They’ve recently been referring to themselves as ‘Your M&S’ which I think is a clever little move – the use of direct speech enhances familiarity and puts them within reach of the customer. They’ve also been playing heavily to the strap line of ‘quality worth every penny'. I love this – they acknowledge they’re not the cheapest, but reassure you that they’re worth it all in one breath. M&S have produced some famous (and infamous) TV campaigns lately ; who could forget the M&S food ads, dubbed ‘food porn’ by some of their harsher critics, and their Christmas ad featuring numerous celebrities including Paul Gleneister, whose lines regarding the girl in her knickers got the advert branded ‘offensive and sexist’. Nevertheless, their use of ‘real women’ celebrities such as Twiggy and Myleene Klass has proved very popular, showing that M&S can successfully dress women of all shapes and ages. My favourite of their recent offerings has got to be Easters’ ‘Just Because’ TV ad. A much more toned down take on the M&S Food advertising featuring Caroline Quentin, who we’ve laughed and cried with in our living room for years (Men Behaving Badly springs to mind!), doing everyday things and saying the sort of thing which you’d hear your best friend say; ‘Because they’re pink, and I’m a girl, and that’s what we do’ as the camera pans over a bowl of pink Percy Pig sweets. Who better to remind us of the everyday quality and value that your M&S can offer?
John Lewis, meanwhile, has often been the quieter of the two companies when it comes to advertising. They’ve done themselves proud with their current ad. Have you seen it? It’s beautiful. Already a firm talking point, it’s nothing if not memorable. To emphasise the company’s longstanding strap line ‘Never undersold: on quality, service and price. Our lifetime commitment to you’, we follow the girl in red through her life (which spans about 7 decades, although interestingly every item featured is available in their Spring/Summer range...!). The film creates a wonderful character that the audience can fall in love with. Thoughtfully set to Fyfe Dangerfield’s ‘She’s Always a Woman’, the lyrics echo the life of a real woman with real imperfections. The 90 seconds of simplicity and gorgeous cinematography of this advert is second to none, and we know that this is a brand which means business. The John Lewis advert is genuinely beautiful and utterly emotional, and a fabulous example of advertising that customers can really engage with. At a family lunch at the weekend it cropped up in conversation, and it became apparent that everybody has a different opinion on it – in fact, a bit like marmite – there was a consensus that you either love it or hate it. What do you think?
If you haven't seen the John Lewis ad yet, sit back and enjoy the link....

http://www.youtube.com/v/zMtyOCoqHTk