M&S set to centralise advertising business

Marks & Spencer is to centralise its creative and media advertising accounts, as it moves to turn around flagging sales and a poor stock-market performance.

Marks & Spencer is to centralise its creative and media advertising

accounts, as it moves to turn around flagging sales and a poor

stock-market performance.



The retail giant uses BMP4 on a contract basis, while Bartle Bogle

Hegarty developed the company’s Christmas food campaign.



The media accounts are handled by BMP OMD and Optimedia, which does the

food advertising.



M&S has drawn up a long list of agencies to pitch for the centralised

creative account. BBH and BMP have already been approached and another

three agencies are thought to be on the retailer’s list. A decision is

expected by June.



The budget is undisclosed, but last year James Benfield, who was

marketing director at the time, said he was planning to double the

adspend to pounds 20 million.



The decision to centralise comes from the company’s new marketing

director, Alan McWalter, who was brought in last September from

Woolworths. Under him the marketing structure at M&S has been

consolidated into one group, with the aim of achieving a more consistent

approach to marketing.



In a separate move, consultants acting for M&S saw pitches in

mid-December for a new-media project. The project is thought to involve

shopping on the net. The company is understood to have asked HHCL &

Partners and BBH to pitch. It also had discussions with J. Walter

Thompson.



Until recently, advertising has not been high on M&S’ agenda and the

company has favoured tactical promotions. There has been intermittent

work, mainly press and poster, by BMP4 and McCann-Erickson has developed

food campaigns.



But last summer, M&S hired BBH to develop its Christmas food campaign as

it attempted to turn around its recent lacklustre image by promoting

food, a highly-regarded aspect of its business.



The company is now vulnerable to takeover speculations with names like

Tesco in the frame. Christmas trading in M&S’s clothing department fell

by nearly 8 per cent.



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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).