M&S appoints Beattie Media for Scottish PR

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.

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

Novelli.



’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

consumer pages.



M&S’s practice of employing a regional PR network is

well-established.



’We have always treated Scotland as a separate country,’ Hudspith

said.



’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.



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