Marks & Spencer is to centralise its creative and media advertising
accounts, as it moves to turn around flagging sales and a poor
The retail giant uses BMP4 on a contract basis, while Bartle Bogle
Hegarty developed the company’s Christmas food campaign.
The media accounts are handled by BMP OMD and Optimedia, which does the
M&S has drawn up a long list of agencies to pitch for the centralised
creative account. BBH and BMP have already been approached and another
three agencies are thought to be on the retailer’s list. A decision is
expected by June.
The budget is undisclosed, but last year James Benfield, who was
marketing director at the time, said he was planning to double the
adspend to pounds 20 million.
The decision to centralise comes from the company’s new marketing
director, Alan McWalter, who was brought in last September from
Woolworths. Under him the marketing structure at M&S has been
consolidated into one group, with the aim of achieving a more consistent
approach to marketing.
In a separate move, consultants acting for M&S saw pitches in
mid-December for a new-media project. The project is thought to involve
shopping on the net. The company is understood to have asked HHCL &
Partners and BBH to pitch. It also had discussions with J. Walter
Until recently, advertising has not been high on M&S’ agenda and the
company has favoured tactical promotions. There has been intermittent
work, mainly press and poster, by BMP4 and McCann-Erickson has developed
But last summer, M&S hired BBH to develop its Christmas food campaign as
it attempted to turn around its recent lacklustre image by promoting
food, a highly-regarded aspect of its business.
The company is now vulnerable to takeover speculations with names like
Tesco in the frame. Christmas trading in M&S’s clothing department fell
by nearly 8 per cent.