mands zoe gut health shot

Source: M&S / YouTube

It takes massive power to propel a spacecraft into orbit. The Space Shuttle used solid rocket boosters, the same height as the Statue of Liberty, burning fuel two million times faster than a family car. Once the craft gets into space, then things get easier. But to get up there takes a huge push.

Why am I talking about this? Innovation in our industry often fails. Good ideas fail. Good products fail. If you want to get a product launched successfully, it requires rocket-fuelled propulsion.

If you’ve been to M&S in the last month, you will probably know about the M&S Food x Zoe Gut Shot. You even may know about it if you haven’t visited a store. It’s hard to recall a recent UK food or drink product launch with such propulsion – harder still to recall an equivalent own-label product launch.

So how have they gone about the launch, and what can we learn?

First, put the right team together. If you are of a certain demographic, you probably already know about Zoe and its scientist Tim Spector. If you’re into food and drink, you probably respect M&S Food. Both parties bring credibility and momentum. Zoe brings gut knowhow, while M&S brings a track record in food and drink innovation.

Second, be clear about what you are. Gut Shot’s packaging, PR and marketing is clear about what it is and what it’s for – gut health! It resists the temptation to overdo the science, having the confidence to take that as read.

Third, attract the shopper’s attention. There are lots of excellent juices and drinks, and quite a lot of shots these days – lots of products across the store that could be adopted by someone who’s decided to do something about their health. 

To stand out in store, you need to go way beyond what might seem enough in the meeting room at head office. M&S has really gone for it. Strong consumer and industry PR, A-frames at store entrance, substantial and highly visible space within the drinks chiller, and a huge visual on the back wall behind checkouts. M&S has done everything it can to get the product noticed.

Finally, pick your moment. Shopper receptivity varies massively over time. You don’t need to be too clever. If it’s health, its January – Veganuary and Dry January have taught us that.

It’s not enough to have a good idea and a good product. There are loads of great options for the consumer. To get your product properly established, you need rocket-fuelled propulsion. If the M&S Food x Zoe Gut Shot can establish itself as a daily habit for large numbers of consumers, it will be a big win for both parties involved.