DIARY: Massive turnaround sees Marks & Spencer as PR Wars Champion 2002

Rejuvenated high street retailer Marks & Spencer has won the title of PR Wars Champion 2002 after topping the chart for most of last year.

M&S scored a massive 5,965 points to top the final table, compiled exclusively for PRWeek by monitoring firm PressWatch, which assigned positive and negative scores to firms' media coverage.

M&S scored around twice as much as second placed Tesco, which ended the year on 3060 points.

The other top ten companies in terms of positive news coverage for 2002 were BSkyB, Northern Rock, Fidelity, Egg, Nationwide Building Society, Legal & General, Asda and BMW.

After a disastrous final quarter, Cable & Wireless finished bottom of the chart, notching up a lowly -6,064 points and claiming the booby prize of a trip to the Tower of London.

The venue at which M&S's PR team will claim its prize - a slap-up dinner courtesy of PressWatch - was still to be decided as PRWeek went to press as M&S comms director Flic Howard-Allen is keen to find a venue that can accommodate all 35 in-house PR staff.

According to PressWatch director Philip Lynch M&S's success was across the board, gaining favourable coverage of its products, management, results and shares.

He added that M&S's achievement is particularly notable as it is the biggest turnaround in coverage of any company between 2001 and 2002.

In its 2001 survey, which was won by Tesco, M&S scored just 294 points, coming in at 142nd.

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