Only Fortnum’s campaign delves into the department store’s history

Fortnum & Mason has commissioned a series of new illustrations for a print campaign celebrating some of its lesser known stories – like the fact that it invented the Scotch egg, and fed hungry sherpas at the summit of Mount Everest

Illustration by Ben Kirchner

The ads, which are created with Fortnum’s regular design and ad collaborator Otherway, feature a mix of up-and-coming and established illustrators, whose work accompanies long-form copy recounting key moments from Fortnum & Mason’s history, as well as sharing some of the store’s impressive attention to detail.

There’s the merry-go-round that once sat in the middle of the Piccadilly store, now remembered with a revolving musical biscuit tin, or the fact that Fortnum & Mason smokes salmon and harvests honey from its own rooftop. Who knew that the department store helped re-establish Black Mitcham mint in Britain, for its teabags, or that its Elvas plums are so sought after that it announces their arrival in The Times every year?

Illustration by Chervelle Fryer
Illustration by Mari Kanstad Johnsen
Illustration by JooHee Yoon

“We were discussing the richness of the stories we have, and how ironic it is at a time when everyone is talking about authenticity, storytelling and heritage, we’re sitting on an absolute goldmine,” says Zia Zareem-Slade, Customer Experience Director and one of CR’s Creative Leaders 50.

“We invented the scotch egg, and were the first to bring baked beans to the country, and it’s frustrating that those stories aren’t more widely understood. We got talking about this idea that only Fortnum’s could do this, or would go to the trouble. Off the back of that, we decided one of the ways to bring these stories to life was an ad campaign that wasn’t direct response, or about having discounts, or those normal mechanics that drive ads forward. It was about getting the brand stories out there and sharing them with people.”

Illustration by Meg Hunt
Illustration by Steve Millington
Illustration by Sister Arrow

Fortnum & Mason already has an extensive history of collaborating with illustrators, which is something Zareem-Slade said she wanted to honour with this campaign. Image-makers have been chosen for their originality and level of craftsmanship, rather than because they fall into any current trends. “My challenge to all the creatives we work with is to be creating archive-worthy assets,” says Zareem-Slade. “In the brief time we’re custodians of this brand, we have to enrich that story, not take from it.”

The Only Fortnum’s campaign has been running for a year in the Sunday Times Magazine, with a pause over summer, and is due to kick off again in early September.