Beattie Media has been appointed by Marks and Spencer to handle the
retailer’s PR in Scotland. Beattie admitted fees have not been
finalised, although they are likely to reach six figures.
The agency replaces incumbent James Harbison and Company which had held
the account for ten years. Beattie was appointed after a four-way pitch
including James Harbison, Harrison Cowley and Countrywide Porter
’We needed someone with more resources,’ said Brian Hudspith, M&S head
of corporate affairs.
Beattie’s brief covers corporate as well as home, food and fashion
consumer PR. The account will be led by Lorna O’Donnell, the partner in
charge of Beattie’s consumer division. However, the agency will aim to
generate media coverage for M&S in business sections, not just on the
M&S’s practice of employing a regional PR network is
’We have always treated Scotland as a separate country,’ Hudspith
’It has its own media. We are a London-based company and we need
additional PR support for stores at a local level.’
The retailer uses Staniforth PR and Harrison Cowley in the north of
England, and Anderson Kenny in Northern Ireland.
In late 1999, M&S restructured communications as a partial response to a
pounds 65 million year on year drop in profit. (PR Week, 19 November).
Its food and general press offices were merged under food advertising
and PR head Andrew Challier. The corporate team hired from outside M&S
for the first time and a new brand strategy - including dropping the St
Michael label - appeared.
- The three Beattie Media directors, Graham Isdale, Alex Barr and Neil
Gibson, who resigned last week over what they claimed was Gordon
Beattie’s reluctance to hand them equity in the company, have signed up
the Scottish Premier League as their first client. Roger Mitchell, the
league’s CEO, told PR Week he was moving the account away from Beattie -
where it had been since the league’s launch two years ago - as a ’vote
of confidence in the account handler Alex Barr’. Barr was one of two
Beattie staff who set up the agency’s public affairs arm in Edinburgh
last summer which was closed following the cash-for-influence scandal.