In a move that signals increasing reliance on below-the-line marketing, Marks & Spencer Financial Services has switched from project-based agency hirings to a roster of five b-t-l shops following a competitive pitch.

The successful quintet comprises Creative Leap, KLP Euro RSCG, Marketing Advantage and WWAV Rapp Collins – all of which have previously serviced M&SFS – plus newcomer, Havas-owned MBO. Each is accorded equal status and will focus on one of five key distribution channels: external media, p-o-s, new media, existing customers and new business.

Explained M&SFS: "We are working far more strategically as a marketing function since we focused on developing our in-house expertise. As a result, our working relationship with agencies has changed and we require their support more for creative executions."

BlackSheep and oneagency were also named to handle specific unidentified projects.

News source: Precision Marketing (UK) [22-May-00]