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M&S hand the reigns of their media account over to Mindshare, and wave goodbye to Walker Media

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It was announced yesterday that the media planning and buying account of one of the largest retail  firms in the country will be changing hands as Marks and Spencer hand their £60 million account to Mindshare, a global media agency owned by Group M Global. The agency was awarded the account following a heated pitch, and they will also take over digital duties, some of which were handled by Profero. An M&S spokeswoman has confirmed a review was taking place but has declined to comment further, it is believed however, that said review was sparked by the brands desire to focus their advertising more heavily on digital media. The creative advertising business at M&S however, has not been called into question, and that account will remain with RKCR/Y&R.

M&S has confirmed a review was taking place but has declined to comment further

The media account was previously handled by Walker Media, who issued a “No hard feelings” statement, which underlined just how deep their relationship with the brand ran. They were appointed to the M&S account at the dawn of the century, and since that time there have been “Five chairmen, four chief executives and as many marketing directors” who Walker has seen come and go. The statement goes on to mention how they worked “Seamlessly with M&S and their other agencies,” (such as the aforementioned RKCR/Y&R) and that they have “Always focused on maximising impact in a highly competitive retail arena” with their “Focus, authority and energy” mantra. They go out with their heads held high, declaring that their approach was “For many years envied and in some cases imitated by the competition,” and that the work they have done for M&S has helped to “Transform the company's approach to marketing.”

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The statement finally (and rather cheekily) references the recent split of celebrity couple Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow , stating the it might not be a “Conscious uncoupling” on their part, but they'll “Always love M&S and thank them for their unwavering commitment to Walker Media over 14 years.” The statement ends in stating that the team at Walker are “Sad to see the relationship end,” but that they wish M&S well on their new path, and “Look forward to finding a fashion retailer and grocer” to apply their experience to in the future. Thinly veiled fighting words perhaps?

M&S has also recently revealed that clothing sales were up by 0.6% for last year's 4th quarter

The move comes after months of intense speculation about the marketing arrangements at M&S, following the retirement of Steven Sharp and the appointment of Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne as marketing director in February this year. M&S has also recently revealed that clothing sales were up by 0.6% for the fourth quarter of 2013, suggesting the company's fortunes are really turning around after a steady decline over the last few years. Chief executive Marc Bolland said that the Mindshare move is just the first move in his plan to transform the company into an “International, multi-channel retailer” and believes the company's strategy is “Bang on.”

Official M&S Website

Official Mindshare Website

Official Walker Media Website

Official RKCR/Y&R Website

Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer who does all of his food shopping at M&S because he'd just that civilised.

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