Ann Summers S&M campaign whipped off

Posted: May 5, 2011

Following pressure from High Street giants Marks & Spencer, Ann Summers has performed a U-turn on its cheeky marketing campaign, inspired by M&S’s advertising. Posters and adverts emblazoned with ‘Your S&M’, ‘Squeal Deal’ – a play on words on M&S’s Meal Deal – and ‘It’s not just Sex, it’s Ann Summers Sex’ have all been removed. Highlighted in the Daily Mirror under the headline ‘You Have Knickered Our Logo’, the paper drew attention to the use of very similar fonts and colours in the promotion, reporting that Ann Summers had ‘ripped off’ Marks & Spencer’s imagery – as opposed to playing saucy homage to it – and that M&S were ‘furious’ over the campaign.

The promotion drew on the M&S £10 Meal Deal promotion and offered “an exciting combination of treats to brighten your bank holiday.” The £29 Squeal Deal included a ‘main’ item, a ‘side’ and a ‘desert’ line from a range of lingerie, sex toys and lickable lubrication.

In an earlier statement from M&S, the firm said: “Over the last 127 years Marks & Spencer has built up a great reputation for quality and trust in the hearts and minds of the British public. When we believe these values are being infringed, we do whatever we can to protect our brand and our customers. We therefore are taking legal advice with a view to issuing legal proceedings.”

In response to the threat of legal action, Ann Summers confirmed it had pulled the material, saying they had, “prematurely withdrawn our campaign.” CEO Jacqueline Gold added: “We wanted to take one of the most iconic campaigns and add a humorous Ann Summers twist. We sincerely hope we haven’t damaged the 127 year-old institution that is Marks & Spencers… Maybe in hindsight it was a squeal too far.”