Seven days of Sienna Miller: How the A-list star is repositioning Marks & Spencer’s brand

Posted by Caroline Edwards in Comment

3 weeks ago

It’s been one week since Marks & Spencer unveiled actor Sienna Miller as the face of its autumn womenswear campaign – and during a heatwave, no less. Teaming up with the A-lister is part of the retailer’s strategy to “evolve style perceptions”. So far, things are going well.

The campaign launched on 7 September and Google data shows consumer searches for M&S peaked on 8 September while searches for Miller’s name spiked on 7 and 8 September. Activations included a press event attended by creators and DJed by Jordan and Loanne Collyer. There has been a TV commercial, OOH marketing and paid influencer work as well as press hooked on Miller, most prominently a Grazia UK cover. To drive digital awareness, the retailer partnered with creators such as Lois Sterling, Emily Wells, Abisola Omole and Naomi Ross to style autumnal looks.

Anna Braithwaite – M&S’s marketing director for clothing and home – recently told Marketing Week that creating buzz and improving both quality and value perceptions are her priorities. Style is the company’s focus, as this is its biggest growth barrier. At the end of August 2023, the retailer returned to the FTSE 100 index for the first time since 2019.

M&S selecting Miller to front its “Anything but Ordinary” campaign is clever because she’s an enduring fashion icon who connects particularly well with millennials. Who can forget her bohemian style during the Noughties and legendary Glastonbury looks? Maddy Evans, the retailer’s womenswear director, described her as the “epitome of the modern woman” and “effortlessly chic”. Many consumers feel they know her story and have been inspired by her style for two decades, but she brings an undeniable A-List glamour to the table.

Miller’s styling of the collection is quintessentially autumnal but on-trend, with hero pieces leaning into the “quiet luxury” aesthetic while giving it a unique spin. Lifestyle creator Katie Peake attended the retailer’s AW23 press event and told CORQ her initial reaction to hearing about the campaign was “‘wow what a perfect fit!’”. Peake noted Miller is well suited for the brand because she is “not afraid to try different styles while still focusing on classic pieces, which M&S are well known for.”

TikTokers have been quick to share how “shocked” they are by the new collection. Fashion creator Jasmine Darya took her followers through select pieces highlighting how the shoes were reminiscent of Miu Miu and Ganni, while the trousers had “Aritiza vibes”. Meanwhile, Nicola Wills shared she only popped into her local store for tights but left with a look that had been styled on Miller for the campaign. As she noted in her caption, “‘I’ll be totally honest I have never thought of M&S as a place for clothes shopping but I’ll [100%] be back.” High praise.


I only popped in to @Marks & Spencer for a pair of tights and came out with this outfit totally influenced by the incredible Sienna Miller… Ill be totally honest I have never thought of M&S as a place for clothes shopping but I’ll 💯 be back. #petiefashion #fashion #mominfluencer #marksandspencer #siennamiller #londonlife

♬ Good Vibes – HRVY & Matoma

As Peake explained, the collection had “classic pieces but with an edge” and offered “something for everyone”.  According to the retailer’s website, the cable knit crew jumper, satin midaxi slip skirt and brushed fringe scarf (as seen on Miller) are the most in-demand items. M&S womenswear director Evans said Miller’s ability to blend “classic and contemporary elements” is key as is giving the consumer an opportunity to experience her take on modern dressing without spending the earth.

There’s no denying celebrity ambassadorships are risky for brands in today’s digital landscape. You only need to look at the mixed reaction to Naomi Campbell’s PrettyLittleThing collection to see how tricky it is to pinpoint who can elevate a brand’s proposition.

This isn’t the first time M&S has partnered with a high profile talent – past collaborators include Alexa Chung, Holly Willoughby and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. But the Miller partnership feels different, a more fundamental shift for the brand. Just seven days on, and the Sienna factor has repositioned the retailer for fashion influencers. Imagine where it will be by Christmas.

By Caroline Edwards, news and features writer for CORQ. Picture credit: Marks & Spencer.