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This is not just any sponsorship, this is an M&S Food sponsorship

This is not just any sponsorship, this is an M&S Food sponsorship

Posted on: January 24, 2020

How Mindshare and ITV amplified the M&S sponsorship of Britain’s Got Talent to deliver outstanding results

Key Points

  • M&S wanted to shift the perception that their range should be reserved for special occasions
  • They activated their first ever, fully integrated TV partnership with Britain’s Got Talent
  • Thanks to a multitude of different touchpoints the campaign delivered impressive yoy sales figures across the featured products

The Challenge

M&S Food had an image problem, not a negative image problem, but a positive one.  Years of brand marketing had cultivated a public perception of M&S food as a quality product that should be reserved for special occasions. M&S sell 30% of the UK’s Christmas turkeys, but less than 2% of meat the rest of the year! This was what needed to change.

Whilst most people agree M&S food is an obvious premium choice for special occasions such as Christmas, it is also a viable everyday “what’s-for-dinner-tonight” family meal choice. M&S Food recognised the need to broaden its appeal and to be more relevant more often to the family shopper.

The TV Solution

To realign themselves as a viable everyday family meal choice, M&S Food needed to place themselves at the heart of everyday family occasions and what’s more ‘everyday’ and special than Saturday night food and family in front of the TV?

By placing themselves at the centre of this occasion, M&S Food found the perfect platform to reposition the brand.

As the home of big Saturday night entertainment, Mindshare identified that ITV would be the perfect partner and Britain’s Got Talent the ideal programme to deliver this platform. So M&S Food embarked on their first ever, fully integrated TV partnership with creative activation at its core delivered across show idents, in-store, on-pack, licensing, talent, social, online and with staff. It would place them at the centre of the family Saturday night experience.

The Plan

M&S Food wanted to showcase the wide variety of products in their range and to do so, working with Mindshare, Grey and ITV, they developed a campaign that included over 70 on-screen sponsorship idents, featuring a range of delicious and iconic M&S Dinner Tonight solutions.

To provide show continuity within the idents, BGT judges and presenters Ant, Dec, David, Alesha and Amanda, each became the voices of animated characters in the form of tableware and condiments. Excited salt and pepper shakers and cutlery were amazed and bowled over at the quality of food talent arriving at the table.

To amplify the partnership onscreen, Ant & Dec also stared in a bespoke promotional campaign promoting the specially created BGT Bonanza deal (6 items for £10) in 30 second spot creative. 

Additional content was produced and hosted on the M&S and BGT social channels. This high-quality, contextual content included footage of M&S’s very own Percy Pig auditioning in front of the four judges filmed at one of the live theatre auditions.

The official BGT app featured a special Percy Pig pink buzzer, and a bespoke M&S Food game, in which users raced to prepare five scrummy M&S meals.

To amplify the partnership off screen there were a number of different activations that came alive instore:

  • POS branding was everywhere, with store managers competing for the best displays
  • M&S produced weekly BGT meal deals, with signage in-store and on-pack branding
  • BGT bags, shelf-talkers and window vinyls       
  • The BGT judges even recorded special voice overs so they could become the voice at the self checkouts: “Hi. It’s Ant & Dec. Please scan your first item!”
  • To involve their staff and drive excitement about the partnership within the M&S family, they ran a number of additional internal activations:
    • They involved colleagues by staging a hunt for the most talented M&S employee
    • Store staff were rewarded for selling the most BGT meals
    • A replica BGT desk sat in HQ


Sales of the products featured grew on average 11% y-o-y, with many selling out as a result of the idents.

To amplify the impact, Mindshare and BGT ran content across Facebook and Twitter, generating 24.4 million impressions and 2.7 million engagement.

Innovative elements, such as event-triggered reminders on Twitter, generated 4,500 opt-ins from highly qualified leads for weekly meal reminders.

What better way to get into the hearts and minds of Britain’s families than to team up with the biggest family show on TV. This partnership brought M&S Food into the homes of over eight million viewers each week, telling more families than ever about our great value, great quality food.

Sharry Cramond Marketing Director, M&S Food


Sector: Grocers

Brand: M&S Food

Campaign objectives: To shift brand perceptions

Target Audience: Families

Budget: Undisclosed

Campaign Dates: Ongoing

TV Usage: Sponsorship idents + 30 second spots

Creative Agency: Grey

Media Agency:  Mindshare

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