20 May 2009

M&S invites customers to spend a penny

Today sees Marks and Spencer get in on the nostalgia trend and return to its Penny Bazaar roots. The British institution is celebrating its 125th birthday by offering customers the opportunity to snap up 2 million specially commissioned items, ranging from socks to cufflinks, for the princely sum of 1p.

Every penny earned will be donated to the M&S 125 Charity Challenge, which raises money for local and regional charities across the country. Stuart Rose, the company's executive chairman, said: "It's been a tough year for us all but people are fed up with being fed up and we wanted to give our customers a real treat."

This is a smart move from M&S, and one that is clearly founded in 'real world' consumer insight. It acknowledges the fact that we are all seeking comfort in the past, as well as giving something back - both to charity and the consumer. Everyone's a winner, not least of all M&S itself.

The amount of free publicity generated will mean that the event has probably paid for itself. Not only has it made headline news, but it's also being discussed on money-saving sites across the country, as well as high fashion and marketing blogs.

Check out the TV ad here: