[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 18 August 2005, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
No joke as M&S unveils comic ads
M&S comedian adverts (L-R Jimmy Carr, Martin Freeman, Bob Mortimer)
Will M&S clothes be on Mr Carr's next Top 100 list?
Marks & Spencer hopes that recruiting a bunch of comedians will have it laughing all the way to the bank.

Familiar TV faces Bob Mortimer, Martin Freeman and Jimmy Carr have slipped into M&S Autograph suits as part of an advertising push.

M&S said it made the move as its male customers were not keen on the "stereotypical" male model look.

The High Street retailer recently saw sales fall for a seventh consecutive quarter and has promised a turnaround.

In another bid to lure shoppers M&S cut prices after revealing that like-for-like sales slipped 5.4% in the 14 weeks to 9 July.

Sales had dropped by 6.3% in the previous three months, and were down 5.1% for the year, the company said.

'Support'

Now the retailer is banking on the comedy trio to improve its flagging fortunes.

Previous promotions involving David Beckham and a host of celebrities in its Christmas ads have failed to score with shoppers.

But while its male customers are not keen on the typical tanned and toned models, M&S marketing director Steve Sharp said the group did not want to go down the "ordinary people" route taken by firms such as Dove body care products.

"Who better to put some wit into our new Autograph campaign than the snappy-dressing British comedians Jimmy Carr, Martin Freeman and Bob Mortimer?" Mr Sharp added.

"They're all individuals with a great sense of style as these shots by legendary fashion photographer David Bailey show."

Meanwhile Mr Carr - well known for the Top 100 list programmes on Channel 4 - said he was keen to give his backing to "a great British institution".

"Who doesn't wear M&S underwear?" he said. "They've been 'supporting' me for years and now I'm glad I've got a suit to wear as well."


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific