BMP4 faces battle for pounds 20m M&S ad budget

BMP4 is bracing itself for a fight to hold on to the Marks & Spencer advertising account after the high street retailer announced this week that it is quadrupling its adspend to pounds 20 million this year.

BMP4 is bracing itself for a fight to hold on to the Marks &

Spencer advertising account after the high street retailer announced

this week that it is quadrupling its adspend to pounds 20 million this

year.



M&S is expected to look outside its existing roster, which includes WWAV

Rapp Collins on its financial services business and McCann-Erickson on

its food range, in the search for an agency to handle a new

campaign.



The increased advertising budget is part of a wholesale review of

strategy as M&S attempts to catch up with high street rivals such as

Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Both BMP4 and M&S refused to comment on the

plans.



It is thought that M&S is still looking to expand its marketing

department and may recruit a senior marketer with a tried and tested

fmcg background.



James Benfield, the current marketing director, was promoted to the role

last year and is behind the company’s new advertising push.



The retail giant has suffered falling profits and has already used

advertising in an attempt to reverse the decline. Its first television

campaign, by McCann-Erickson, aired at Christmas.



Before a new campaign is finalised, however, M&S is concentrating on

getting its product right.



Recent moves towards attracting younger, more fashionable customers by

recruiting top designers to create trendy clothes ranges have alienated

the store’s core customers. The autumn ranges are expected to appeal to

a slightly older audience, with more colourful and co-ordinated clothing

on sale. Top designers will still be used and M&S hopes to be able to

put some of the names in its advertising campaigns.



Meanwhile, BMP4 is launching a campaign to mark the launch of M&S’s

Covent Garden store, which opens next week selling food, lingerie,

ladieswear and a bureau de change.



The press and poster work, planned and bought by BMP OMD to appear in

non-traditional sites around Covent Garden underground station, plays on

the store’s location with lines like: ’New season’s fashions discovered

in Garden’ and ’Covent Garden. The stage is set.’



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