M&S Birth of a Brand - Films and Fashion Shows

Discussion and activity ideas   

This page suggests ways in which old and new images can be used with different subjects, as prompts for classroom and homework activities.

KS3 Business Studies

  • In the 1950s it was new for companies to make films like this one called Carefree Summer. Until then print advertising was the most common way of promoting your product. How many different forms of 'print' advertising can you think of? This resource about M&S Advertising might help.
  • What methods of advertising do companies use today to promote their products or services? 
  • Online shopping is now an important part of the retail trade. What are the advantages and the disadvantages of this for:
    • the customer
    • the retailer
    • society and communities 
  • M&S has evolved as a business over time. How have companies like M&S diversified? What other services do they now provide and why? 

KS3 Literacy

  • Project yourself into the future and write a story about what shopping will be like in 20 years time. Think about:
    • whether there will still be shops and markets
    • how different our towns will be
    • what effect might different forms of transport have on the environment
    • how these changes will have affected young people and family life 

KS3/4 Media Studies

  • What could your school do to brand itself? 
  • How could your school market itself to future parents/students etc?
  • Decide what annual whole school event could benefit from improved marketing and promotion, and design a marketing campaign for it.
  • Write a press release that promotes the 1965 M&S film Carefree Summer, as if it is part of film festival featuring archive advertising. Here is a press release template to get you started. 
  • Read the transcript of an article in M&S News for 1959 about fashion shows. Identify words, phrases or names that seem old-fashioned. Write a report of these fashion shows in language you would use today.

  • Find the M&S adverts in the Timeline on the Marks in Time website (1950s onwards). How do the adverts change from decade to decade?
  • How many films can you think of that are about fashion or designers? Create a 'storyboard' for a film advert about a new M&S collection.


Society - a group of people living in the same place or sharing the same beliefs

Retailer - someone who sells things

Diversify - reducing risk by expanding into different areas (of business)

Storyboard - a way of outlining a story simply through pictures

Contemporary - about something now, not in the past

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