Marks & Spencer is speaking to agencies about a major advertising
project to promote its food stores.
The high street retailer is understood to have become increasingly
nervous at the inroads made by mainstream supermarkets such as Tesco,
Sainsbury’s and Waitrose into its heartland of premium-value foods.
This has been heightened by the appointment of Lord Stone as managing
director of M&S food stores in March. He is said to be a strong believer
in brand-building advertising.
The food division used McCann-Erickson on an ad hoc basis to create a
tactical food campaign last Christmas.
McCanns’ appointment signalled M&S’s desire to market food as a separate
brand from the main store. However, it has yet to launch a generic
campaign promoting the stores as a venue for mainstream food shopping.
It is believed this is the focus of the latest review. According to
sources close to the business, M&S is asking agencies to look at its
food advertising strategy, but has yet to issue formal briefs.
McCanns no longer works for M&S after picking up the conflicting Kwik
Save account at the end of last year.
Before that, M&S’s food advertising was handled by BMP4 as part of its
tenure on the main account. BMP4 was responsible for launching M&S’s
successful strawberry campaign in summer 1995.
A spokesperson for M&S refused to comment.