Adam & Eve has won the £20 million advertising account for John Lewis, beating Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy in a final shoot-out.
The agency will begin working with the retailer in March this year, with its first work expected to break soon afterwards. The review was handled by the AAR.
The decision will come as a disappointment to MCBD, which resigned its Debenhams account in December to pitch for the John Lewis brief. It already handles advertising for Waitrose, which is part of the John Lewis Partnership.
Sources say that the two agencies were evenly matched throughout the process. Both had a fifth meeting with the John Lewis marketing team on Friday last week, and were told of the decision on Wednesday afternoon.
Craig Inglis, the head of brand communications at John Lewis, said: "Going through the pitch process with two exceptionally strong agencies has enabled us to be absolutely confident that we have the best possible solution for our partners and the business as a whole."
The account, which was previously handled by Lowe London, went up for pitch in November 2008. Lowe was initially involved, but pulled out in December when the retailer announced its shortlist.
The win is the third in as many weeks for Adam & Eve after it picked up the Phones4U account and an EMI brief.