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Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight might only sound 14 days long, but here at M&S it’s a full month affair. M&S Graduate and leader of this year’s M&S fortnight campaign, Rosie King, gives us an insight into the campaign and tells us about her experience on the exciting Generalist grad scheme.

As a proud Scot, I can appreciate the deep-rooted passion and pride felt in Scotland for supporting local suppliers and homegrown products.

These are values shared by M&S – whether we’re talking about Scotland or any part of the UK – which is a key reason why I applied to join M&S in the first place!

Joining the illustrious M&S Generalist scheme

I joined M&S last September on the Generalist graduate scheme – an exciting & fast-paced programme that sees you take on four six-month placements around the business. With only 10 places available, I felt incredibly lucky to secure a spot - and on only the second cohort! 

Barring Covid, September 2020 was a great time to join M&S – what with the transformation project in full swing and M&S Food having just launched onto

M&S Food is where I began my first placement, which I was really excited about. I joined the Foods Online marketing team: responsible for communicating to our customers all the brilliant food products we offer on M& - from hampers to flowers to birthday cakes – which we would promote via email and across social media.

As you can imagine, seasonal events like Christmas & Valentine’s Day were our busiest periods; it felt amazing to play my part in helping deliver these key moments for the business. I was really proud that our Valentine’s Day marketing campaign helped achieve record-breaking growth for our Hampers & Flowers business, leading to M&S’s most successful Valentine’s Day ever.

The role was the perfect start to life at M&S – I learnt so much in a short space of time which gave me the building blocks for my next rotation.

Leading the Scottish Food Fortnight campaign

I was delighted to stay within the Food group and move into the In-store Category & Events marketing team – looking after in-store marketing for agricultural events. This included the Royal Highland Show in July, the Balmoral Show in Northern Ireland later this week, the inaugural Love Cheese Live show in October – and of course Scottish Food Fortnight this past month, which I was lucky enough to lead.

This year we went bigger than ever before - as anyone who has visited one of our Scottish stores recently will testify. We really went to town with our in-store messaging – emphasising to customers our longstanding (over 100 years!) presence in Scotland and delivering a more locally-focused campaign for our Scottish customers - much of which will remain post-September, which is really cool!

From store windows to door stickers, hanging banners, shelf-edge labelling, Scottish carrier bags, a dedicated magazine, special Sparks offers, and visits from a tartan-clad Percy Pig, I took every opportunity to paint our foodhalls tartan blue and white and showcase the very best of Scotland to our customers. The feedback we’ve received from customers has been amazing – it’s been great to hear how well the campaign has landed across our 58 Scottish stores. 

Being Scottish myself, it’s given me great pride to champion support for our fantastic Scottish suppliers and farmers and really bring this to life in our stores. 

What next?

In October I will begin my third placement within a completely different part of the business – M&S International. I’ll be analysing how we transport our chilled goods from the UK to our M&S Food stores abroad, run by our international franchise partners, and seeing if there are any improvements we can make.

I’m really excited to continue to further my M&S career and learn about something completely different! That’s the beauty of the Generalist scheme: even 12 months in, you learn something new about this business every day – and that’s really why I love it!