M&S calls ad pitch for clothing and home

Food advertising will stay with Grey London, while clothing and home account is up for grabs.

Holly Willoughby: featured in Christmas ad campaign
Holly Willoughby: featured in Christmas ad campaign

Marks & Spencer is dividing its advertising between two accounts, nine months after it split its marketing department into a food division and a clothing and home team.

Grey London, which was appointed to the retailer’s entire creative account in August 2016, will retain the business for its food business, while the clothing and home account will go to pitch.

A spokeswoman for M&S said it was putting together a longlist of agencies and was in discussions with Grey about possible involvement. The process was initiated by Nathan Ansell, marketing director for clothing and home.

In April last year, M&S announced plans to separate the company into two operationally separate businesses in its latest attempt to stem long-term sales decline in clothing and home that has now spilled over into food, previously the company's star performer.

That process saw the exit of former top marketer Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne and his deputy Rob Weston, with Ansell and Sharry Cramond appointed to lead marketing in the clothing and home division and the food unit respectively.

Last Christmas, M&S ran separate campaigns for the two divisions for the first time, both created by Grey. The clothing and home campaign was focused on "must-haves" and featured Holly Willoughby and David Gandy.

The M&S spokeswoman said: "As we transform M&S, our clothing & home and food businesses have been reshaped to create clear and accountable businesses. In line with this, we have put our clothing & home creative brief out to tender, as we continue to restore our style credentials and make M&S more relevant, more often to more customers. We’re proud of the campaigns we have created with Grey and it remains the retained creative agency for our food business."

A story in The Sunday Times in November reported that M&S had considered a plan to split into two separate businesses, but concluded that it would not offer value to shareholders.

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