BMP4 faces M&S review threat

BMP4’s position as agency of choice for Marks & Spencer is under threat following the retailer’s wide-ranging strategic review after it announced plans to double its marketing spend this year.

BMP4’s position as agency of choice for Marks & Spencer is under threat following the retailer’s wide-ranging strategic review after it announced plans to double its marketing spend this year.

The retailer is assessing its entire operation as part of a “nothing is sacred” business review following a disastrous year on the high street. An M&S spokeswoman admits it may be forced to look at its advertising agencies.

She says: “The business is still undergoing a major review and BMP4 is still our advertising agency. However, it may be that we will have to consider changing our agency.”

Any review would come as a particularly bitter blow to BMP4 after new M&S marketing director James Benfield’s comments this weekend that he plans to almost double the company’s promotional spend from 12m to 20m this year. M&S spent 5m on advertising in 1998.

Benfield is keen to invest in the M&S Magazine, which he describes as one of “an armoury of different promotional tools” set for investment in the next year. He has also signalled a commitment to TV, radio, print and outdoor campaigns.

In the past, BMP4 is believed to have handled the bulk of brand advertising, with particular responsibility for fashion and cosmetics. McCann-Erickson handled the food sector, and WWAV Rapp Collins financial services.

However, BMP4 joint managing director Virginia Creer says: “Now M&S has a centralised marketing department, we have been doing work across the whole business.

“That is true for the short-term and we hope it will remain so in the long term.”

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