Brand Slam: Marks & Spencer vs Sainsbury's

The supermarket rivals are enlisting the help of Paddington Bear and promoting festive fizz as they battle to lure shoppers through their doors in the run-up to Christmas.

Marks & Spencer

Event structure

Marks & Spencer has worked most recently with brand experience agency RPM and has partnered shopping centres such as Westfield London and Intu Trafford Centre in Manchester.

Social footprint

@marksandspencer has 544,000 followers on Twitter and 695,000 on Instagram, while the brand’s Facebook page has garnered more than five million likes.

Recent campaigns

In August, Marks & Spencer worked with RPM to launch a tasting experience in Leeds as part of the brand's "Spirit of summer" campaign. The pop-up enabled visitors to try regional dishes and ingredients from locations such as Sicily, Sardinia, Portugal and the south of France. The retailer also hosted a vintage-themed pop-up in June at Intu Trafford Centre that shared vintage M&S fashions, facts and photos.

Latest campaign

Marks & Spencer’s Christmas ad campaign centres on Paddington Bear and the retailer is running a series of in-store activities following the theme. This includes bespoke signage leading customers to the Paddington Shop, which houses more than 90 themed products.

The famous bear is also the first ever film character to star in the retailer’s Christmas windows. In December, Marks & Spencer’s team of in-store "moment makers" is surprising customers with Paddington-themed "random acts of kindness", such as handing out free marmalade sandwiches in the cafés and Paddington chocolates at the tills.


Event structure

Sainsbury’s has previously worked with agencies including BecauseXM and paired up with other brands such as Cadbury.

Social footprint

@sainsburys has 504,000 Twitter followers and 170,000 on Instagram while the brand’s Facebook page has prompted just short of 1.7 million likes.

Recent campaigns

The supermarket staged an experiential roadshow to bring to life its "Live well for less" tagline. This transformed an old shipping container into an outdoor kitchen, offering cooking tips and food samples.

More recently, the brand teamed up with Cadbury to launch a Creme Egg Spotters Hide Tour, with a bus stopping off at Sainsbury's stores across the south east of England, inviting shoppers on board to experience the world of the Cadbury Creme Egg.

Guests were able to sample a Cadbury Creme Egg treat from the café and could also participate in a range of "hunt the Creme Egg" games. The supermarket also supported Autism Hour this year by dimming lights in certain stores, turning down the music and sharing information about autism.

Latest campaign

In the run-up to Christmas, the supermarket is launching a Festive Fizz Bar to showcase its range of sparkling wines. The three-day event, taking place from 7 to 9 December, will feature a menu of five premium sparkling wines from the retailer's Taste the Difference range, alongside dishes such as meat and cheese platters.


Campaign says:

Marks & Spencer’s focus on food and vintage fashion for its experiential activity offers a more inventive approach compared with Sainsbury’s, while its use of Paddington Bear for its in-store Christmas activity is a sure-fire way to engage consumers. 

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