Digital Transformation

M&S drops RKCR/Y&R and appoints Grey London to handle both creative and digital business

By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

August 22, 2016 | 3 min read

Marks and Spencer has awarded its £60m creative advertising and digital account to Grey London following a 10-week battle amongst WPP’s biggest shops for the business.

It’s the first time the digital and creative has been combined and marks the end of a 16-year relationship with RKCR/Y&R, which handled the latter.

M&S’ marketing boss Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne said he was “delighted” with the result of the pitch.



“Grey will ensure M&S maintains strong creative leadership and engagement with both existing and new customers across all channels – in-store, digital, social and mobile, and our members club – Sparks,” he said.

But Grey has a tough job on its hands. Although M&S has been revered for its marketing efforts under Rainey Kelly such as ‘This isn’t just any food’ to ‘Magic and Sparkle’, it has failed to translate into sales.

New boss Steve Rowe recently implemented a five-point plan to reestablish itself with ‘Mrs M&S’ – the core customer that has been forgotten as it tried to win over trendier millennials.

Part of that plan will see M&S act as a more “data-driven” organisation, and so the integration of its creative and digital under one agency is a move that makes sense.

“We’ve championed integration across our clients for a long time but in many ways this win is the zenith of it,” said chief executive Leo Rayman.

“To bring advertising and digital together under one roof for one of the biggest retailers in the country sets a new benchmark, not just for us but for the industry.”

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Meanwhile, for Grey the high-profile win is exactly what it needed after losing three of its top executives earlier this year, which led to a massive restructure within the agency.

David Patton, president and CEO, Grey EMEA, said the win shows Grey London’s new management “has hit the ground running.”

“To have a business as significant as M&S put its faith into that team, from day one, is incredibly gratifying,” he added.

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