Marks and Spencer (M&S) has embarked on what it describes as a ‘radical departure’ from its usual advertising efforts with a campaign that unites its food and clothing divisions under one somewhat ambiguous tagline – ‘Spend it Well’ – for the first time.

First and foremost, M&S wants to be seen as being “bolder” and “leading on cultural issues” with the marketing refresh. The retailer’s top marketer said he sees the new ‘Spend it Well’ positioning to be more of a “brand philosophy” that encourages customers to only spend time on quality experiences, people and things that really matter.

“It’s a value statement. In an overcrowded, consumer goods space where there is a lot of stuff available it is about making the right decision,” Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director of customer, marketing and M&S.com, told The Drum. “The call to action I want this to have is ‘don’t miss out on the things that really matter in life today, don’t be on autopilot.’”

But beyond the ‘life’s too short’ message there is one that lingers on promoting price, a subject M&S rarely brings up in its above-the-line marketing. Although unintentional, Bousquet-Chavanne admitted there is a “double entendre” that he’s happy to go along with given the investments M&S has made into lowering its clothing prices over the past year.

“It’s ok with me if people do see the [price] value angle,” he explained. “We’re in a market where that does matter…