M&S's agencies confident of future despite exit of Sharp

Marks & Spencer's agencies were confident this week that no agency review would take place imminently, despite the retirement of the brand's executive director of marketing, Steven Sharp.

M&S: profit decline
M&S: profit decline

Sharp presided over the "your M&S" and "this is not just food" branding. He will step down in July after nine years.

Industry sources suggest M&S’s long-standing agencies, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R and Walker Media, do not expect a marketing overhaul or review, at least in the next six months.

Both agencies have already developed a relationship with Sharp’s replacement, Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, who joined M&S last year.

One insider speculated that a review could take place next year but that the retailer would not want to destabilise its marketing arrangements ahead of autumn and Christmas campaigns. The activity will aim to overturn an ongoing slump in clothing sales, which fell 4.1 per cent in the year ended 30 March.

The M&S chief executive, Marc Bolland, is under fire to reverse the trend, which contributed to a full-year pre-tax profit of £564.3 million, down 14.2 per cent year on year.

It is thought that M&S’s autumn/winter clothing line, which is backed by the "perfectly" campaign and marks a return to the values of quality and style, will determine the future of both Bolland and the brand’s marketing.

RKCR/Y&R’s chairman, Mark Roalfe, said: "Steve is probably one of the most inspirational marketing directors I’ve ever come across. He understands the creative process and how to get the best out of agencies."

"Steve has always been prepared to be bold," Phil Georgiadis, the Walker Media chairman, added. "He values the relationship with media beyond spots and space."


Subscribe to Campaign from just £57 per quarter

Includes the weekly magazine and quarterly Campaign IQ, plus unrestricted online access.


Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now
How easyJet transformed customer data into emotional anniversary stories

1 How easyJet transformed customer data into emotional anniversary stories

To showcase innovation and good practice, Campaign is publishing the best case studies from the 2016 Marketing New Thinking Awards, held in association with Sky Media. EasyJet and Havas Helia triumphed in the Data Creativity category for their data-driven work on the airline's 20th anniversary.

Just published