Teachers' notes, discussion and activity ideas

This resource is part of the  M&S Birth of a Brand suite inspired by the large collection of advertising images and film in the M&S Company Archive based at Leeds University.  


You can also download the M&S Advertising and Branding timeline, which lists key dates and events in the Company's history and the various advertising campaigns up to the present day.

Curriculum Links:

KS2 English/Literacy - Reading and evaluating a range of non-fiction texts

KS2 Design & Technology

- as a natural extension to a packaging design topic, where children create adverts to promote their products

- how technology has influenced advertising


KS3 Design Technology - Brand design

KS4/5 Business and Enterprise, Economics, History, Media Studies


Learning Outcomes:

  • Knowledge of how a recent M&S advertising campaign was put together
  • Understanding of the ways in which large retail companies promote themselves and their products
  • Skills of recognising the different elements of a high profile advertising campaign

Discussion and Activity ideas:

KS2 Design & Technology/History:

  • Plan a whole-school topic on Advertising and Branding, with each year group focusing on a different era of the 20th Century. Each group could create adverts using the media that was popular in their era and in the relevent style of adverts. Display your finished adverts around school or on your school website.

KS2 Literacy:

  • Watch the 125 Anniversary film advertisement (see Video link below). Write a short sketch for your own TV advert then perform it and record the performance with a video camera. 
  • What are your favourite TV adverts? What do you like about them? Watch some of the vintage adverts on the Telly Ads website (see related links below) and compare them with TV adverts today.
  • What anniversaries have you celebrated? Write an account in a 'reporting' style of a celebration event you have experienced. It could be a marriage, a birthday, a wedding anniversary, Christmas, Eid or Diwali. 

KS3 Art & Design/Graphic Design

  • Look at the images of the specially created M&S 125 Anniversary products and adverts.  Print copies and make them into a collage or a mood board for the 125 Campaign. Add in some other images from magazines that match the colours and styles of the M&S images.
  • How could you re-brand your school?
    What elements of existing branding would you keep and exploit
    Which elements would you change and how?
    Make a presentation to the Headteacher to discuss your ideas:
    (a) before you start (b) mid-way and (c) at the end of the design process
    Make a final presentation to your group or to the whole school and ask for feedback.

KS3/4/5  Business and Enterprise, Media, History

  • Use the ideas and techniques in the M&S 125 Anniversary campaign to brand your own products. Design posters, adverts and packaging, then think up slogans to promote your campaign on radio, TV etc (you can browse popular slogans of the past on the 'Think Slogans' website in Related Links below)
  • Watch some of the videos on the M&S TV channel to see how modern advertising films compare with TV adverts of the past (see related links below for both M&S and Telly Ads websites).  Think about how the film makers get their message across and which audiences they are trying to reach.


Era - a long period of time, before and after which fashions change
Exploit - use to the greatest possible advantage
Slogan - a phrase used repeatedly, as in advertising or promotion
Vintage - of a particular time or period in the past