JD Williams to part company with ad agency Y&R London

JD Williams, the online clothes and homeware retailer, is poised to review its advertising requirements after giving notice to Y&R London, the creative agency it only appointed 12 months ago.

JD Williams: Y&R created brand relaunch campaign 'A colourful life', which rolled out in September
JD Williams: Y&R created brand relaunch campaign 'A colourful life', which rolled out in September

The WPP agency was given notice by the brand within the last two weeks, several sources have confirmed to Campaign

The brand, owned by N Brown Group, would not comment on its decision but said it would continue to work with Y&R on the delivery of its forthcoming spring and summer 2018 campaigns.

Y&R had been appointed a year ago, shortly after rebranding from Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, following a competitive pitch against BMB and Publicis London. The retailer had previously worked with McCann Manchester since 2012, before launching a creative review and agency search through AAR.

The agency’s first work for JD Williams – the "A colourful life" ad campaign – launched in September and did not feature TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, the brand’s erstwhile spokeswoman since 2014.

In November, Y&R London hired Leo Burnett London's chief executive Paul Lawson to run the agency, replacing Jon Sharpe, who left to become chief executive, Europe, at sister WPP shop VML. 

JD Williams had tasked Y&R with a brief to turn the direct home shopping company into a more mainstream brand by widening its appeal and adding more personality to its advertising. At the time of "A colourful life" launching, the brand said it wanted to "challenge traditional preconceptions of women in their 40s and 50s" and "redefining what it means to be middle aged".

When asked about its decision to give notice to Y&R, a company spokeswoman said: "It’s not N Brown’s policy to comment on rumour or speculation. We can however confirm that we are working with Y&R London on the delivery of our Spring and Summer ‘18 advertising campaigns, which we’re excited to launch."