M&S names former Diageo brand director Avis as marketing chief

Marks & Spencer has appointed its new marketing chief, Alice Avis, who claims to have been responsible for reversing declining sales of Diageo brand Johnnie Walker.

Marks & Spencer has appointed its new marketing chief, Alice Avis, who claims to have been responsible for reversing declining sales of Diageo brand Johnnie Walker.

As global brand director for the whisky, she appointed Bartle Bogle Hegarty and bought into the agency’s Keep On Walking campaign, which initially starred movie star Harvey Keitel.

Her appointment as director of marketing and e-commerce at the high-street retailer ends a long search for a replacement for Alan McWalter, who stepped down from his position as group marketing director following a restructure.

McWalter was responsible for the much-criticised “I’m normal” campaign – featuring a naked woman running up a hill, which had been designed to re-ignite consumer interest in the then troubled retailer.

Avis, who reports to chief executive Roger Holmes, will not have a board role, unlike McWalter.

It is likely that Avis will review all aspects of M&S’s marketing including advertising, handled by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R.

Avis began her career in account management at BMP, going on to join Guinness, with global marketing responsibility for Gordons, Dewars and Tanqueray before working on Johnnie Walker. But like many other marketers Avis was seduced by the dot-com world and joined betting start-up Flutter.com as marketing director.

For the past year she has been running her own strategic marketing consultancy.

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