Universal McCann is understood to have scooped the UK media planning and buying business for the expansion-focused Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz.
The agency is believed to have landed the pounds 4 million account following a competitive pitch last month. H&M's UK media was handled by CIA Conzept, a division of the CIA network, through which it spent approximately pounds 1 million last year.
The new appointment and increased media spend form part of a strategy of global expansion for H&M. The retailer last month awarded its global advertising account to the Finnish agency Hasan & Partners, which is a member of the McCann-Erickson WorldGroup.
Hasan & Partners has been asked to spearhead a dollars 100 million marketing drive that will concentrate on boosting the retailer's image in the UK, as well as in the US, where it is unknown outside of New York. The move to reposition the H&M brand as affordable, high-end fashion will see it compete with Marks & Spencer in the UK.
H&M's media strategy has, traditionally, been centred around press and poster work. The latest executions feature the actors Tim Roth and Chloe Sevigny, and the jewellery designer Jade Jagger, dressed in the retailer's latest fashion line. It is not known whether Universal McCann will continue to pursue this strategy.
H&M is now hunting for a creative agency to work alongside Hasan & Partners in the UK. The Finnish agency has a tradition of working with smaller agencies which adapt its work to different European markets.
Both Universal McCann and Hennes & Mauritz declined to comment on the appointment.