M&S tipped to centralise £20m media business

Marks & Spencer is tipped to centralise its £20m media buying account in the new year, following the appointment of former Woolworth’s executive Alan McWalter as marketing director.

Marks & Spencer is tipped to centralise its &£20m media buying account in the new year, following the appointment of former Woolworth’s executive Alan McWalter as marketing director.

The majority of the business is split between BMP OMD, which handles the general merchandising account involving M&S’s clothing ranges, and Optimedia, which was appointed in June to work on a summer food campaign. MediaVest Manchester works on M&S’s financial services business.

Sources suggest the retailer will pool its media buying account to increase efficiency and negotiate bigger volume deals.

M&S, which uses specialist retail agency Elliott Borra Perlmutter on its food account and BMP4 for general merchandise, hired Bartle Bogle Hegarty in August to create its Christmas advertising campaign (MW August 26).

McWalter was announced as M&S’s group marketing director last week, but news of the long-awaited appointment failed to halt a further slip in the retailer’s share price.

McWalter, who has been Woolworth’s marketing director since 1994, joins M&S in January in a board-level position replacing James Benfield, who was temporarily overseeing marketing. McWalter reports directly to Peter Salsbury, M & S chief executive officer.

Before joining Woolworth’s, McWalter was marketing and business development director at Comet. He held posts at Unilever, Spillers Foods and Ferguson before joining the Kingfisher group in 1991. He is a fellow of the Marketing Society.

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