Concepting, photoshoot, editorial content

When M&S decided to make its foray into the world of beauty, we were incredibly excited and delighted to help with the launch. There was no better person for the job than our resident beauty expert and Group Editor, Charley Williams-Howitt. She knows literally all there is to know about beauty and she couldn’t wait to talk about the very best and most exclusive beauty brands that M&S had sourced from around the world. Our beauty books have an editorial feel with masses of tips, quotes and recommendations from the most well-known beauty directors. Whether it’s fragrance or skincare, we share our expertise with customers so they can be just as excited about these new brands as we are.



Marks & Spencer launched a premium, multi-branded beauty concession in dedicated stores. The aim was to offer customers the best brands from around the world, to sit beside the store’s own beauty collections. To support this exciting offering, M&S requested a customer communication brochure that combined traditional catalogue selling and engaging editorial. It wanted to promote iconic beauty products, such as French skincare range Nuxe, inform customers about the credibility of its brands, offer relevant advice and raise the profile of the department.

Charley Williams-Howitt, Axon’s Group Editor and beauty authority, worked alongside M&S’s beauty buyers to deliver a magazine-style Beauty Book, which would inspire women of all ages to shop in store and online, plus offer beauty advice and ideas in an informal, chatty tone of voice. Product information was channeled into editorial-style features (with key products given full page exposure and a ‘Most Wanted’ credit) and content (such as the right skincare for your age, at-home spa treatments and how to tan safely). To reinforce the credibility of this information, beauty editors and experts from across the beauty contributed advice. The overall creative took on a modern, magazine-style stance, with stylised product shots, celebrity and model imagery. Models were cast for their ‘ageless’ look so that they would appeal to all women. Styling and make-up was fresh, summery and feminine. Axon art-directed the cover and all imagery in the Beauty Book.

An M&S-arranged focus group of women aged 35 to 65 found the new-look Beauty Book appealing, attractive and inspiring. Features where expert advice was given, real women were featured and products had clear and concise information about their benefits appeared to be the best loved. All were excited about the products on offer at M&S Beauty and said they would go in store to purchase something they’d seen in the book.

Julia Douglas, Head of Brand Publications at M&S, said: “Axon are perfectly in tune with creating the right magazine-style narrative, with the right creative to engage and inspire the customer, and show off the product offering in a beautiful and exciting way. It not only introduced Beauty to a new audience but reaffirmed to existing shoppers that M&S means quality, expertise and innovation in whatever guise it comes in.”