M&S appoints ODD to lead clothing creative after splitting ad business

The new agency is tasked with making M&S’s marketing “more targeted, inspirational and relevant” and restoring the retailer’s style credentials, with the first campaign due in the autumn.

Marks & Spencer's marketing
Marks & Spencer’s clothing marketing has focused on its ‘Must-Haves’ campaign

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has appointed ODD to lead the creative account for its clothing business after making the decision to split its ad business earlier this year.

ODD was picked for its strong track record in clothing and fashion marketing. It has previously worked with brands including River Island, Dr. Martens, Primark and Levi’s.

The agency is tasked with making M&S’s clothing and home marketing more “targeted, inspirational and relevant” through better use of data and an always-on, digital-first approach. Improving its style credentials is also seen as key for M&S.

The first campaign is due in the autumn. It is unclear what the new creative direction might be, but M&S has said it plans to retain the ‘Must-Haves’ campaign featuring clothing ambassador Holly Willoughby.

Nathan Ansell, clothing and home marketing director, says: “As we transform M&S, we need more targeted, inspirational and relevant customer marketing to restore our style credentials. As part of this it’s important we have the right creative agency support, so we’re delighted to have appointed ODD, where the team has real expertise in clothing and home marketing.

“Together, we’ll be looking to build on early successes with our digital-first approach to campaigns including ‘Holly’s Must Haves’ and to better utilise data for ‘always-on’ cross-channel campaigns. There’s lots to do and we’re all looking forward to working together to make M&S more relevant, more often, to more customers.”

Grey London, which was appointed as lead creative agency across the business in August 2016, is still the creative agency for the food business. It chose not to repitch for the clothing and home business. The pitch was run by Marketing Week’s sister brand Oystercatchers.

READ MORE: M&S’s move to split its creative should bring some much needed spark back

The move comes after M&S separated the company into two businesses on an operations basis last year as it look to remove a layer of management, increase focus and speed up decision-making. That decision saw former marketing boss Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne depart the business, with Nathan Ansell assuming responsibility for clothing and home marketing, while Sharry Cramond leads food.

The decision to split M&S’s ad account comes as the retailer tries to turn around years of stuttering performance, particularly in its clothing and home business. M&S is closing more than 100 stores as it aims to bring a third of its sales online and amid wider struggles on the high street.

In its most recent results, for the 13 weeks to 29 December, both clothing and food sales were down. Like-for-like food sales fell by 2.1% and clothing and home was down 2.4%, resulting in overall group revenue falling 3.9% to £3bn.