Sainsbury’s and Argos marketing functions combined under newly promoted Mark Given

Mark Given

Sainsbury’s and Argos have combined the marketing roles for Argos and Sainsbury's for the first time under a group chief marketing officer.

Mark Given will taken on the role in the new structure, which also gives him marketing responsibility for loyalty scheme Nectar and I2C, a shopper insights company.

Gary Kibble, who was appointed marketing director for Argos two years ago, will depart.

He joined shortly after the merger of Argos and Sainsbury’s, following a two-year stint at Mothercare. It is not yet known if he has another role to go to. A spokesperson said he intends to “pursue other opportunities”.

“Sainsbury’s acquired Argos almost three years ago and had always planned to integrate the businesses more fully over time so that we can provide a seamless customer offer across Sainsbury’s and Argos, in stores and online,” the spokesperson said. “Bringing together the two marketing functions is the natural next step as we bring the businesses and brands closer together.”

Given joined Sainsbury’s as head of brand communications in January 2013 and held a number of roles before becoming marketing director of Sainsbury’s Food in February 2017.

He also led the move to a new ad agency, Weiden+Kennedy, which saw the retailer end its decades-long relationship with AMV BBDO.

What it means for agencies

It’s unclear what the plan to “bring the businesses closer together” will mean for Argos’ creative advertising agency The & Partnership.

After acquiring Argos, Sainsbury’s had attempted to combine its £63m media business into M/Six, the media agency within The & Partnership that also managed Argos’ £53m advertising spend.

However, incumbent PHD claimed the review had been run unfairly and, after making a complaint to the board and a lengthy second review, the account eventually stayed with it.

Last month Argos also appointed WPP's Essence to its digital media account.

A spokesperson had not commented at the time of writing.

Argos has been experimenting with bringing Sainsbury's branding into its own ads. Last year, under Kibble, it launched the first co-branded campaign after reaching a "point of critical mass" where customers expect to "experience" a joint that narrative."

"This is a catalyst for change in the organisation," Kibble told The Drum at the time of its launch.

Update: A Sainsbury's spokesperson said there are "no current plans" to review its agency roster.

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