Thorntons hands PR task to Communique

Thorntons, the chocolate retailer, has hired Manchester-based Communique Public Relations as its retained consumer PR agency.

Thorntons, the chocolate retailer, has hired Manchester-based

Communique Public Relations as its retained consumer PR agency.



The account is worth pounds 150,000 over a 12-month period, and was

awarded after a five-way pitch. Incumbent BMA Communications did not

repitch for the account.



Iain Leslie, managing director of Communique, will head the account, and

report to Thorntons marketing director Helen Wilcox.



The company has had a difficult year, issuing a series of profit

warnings, leading to the departure of chief executive Roger Paffard in

February.



He was replaced by Peter Burdon in May who said, at the time, that the

company needed to exploit its strong brand via marketing and

advertising.



Another aim, which led to the change in agency, is to make Thorntons

less reliant on seasonal sales, such as Christmas and Valentine’s

Day.



Wilcox said: ’We will be working with Communique to raise the profile of

the brand with our target audience, not only during our key seasons but

all year around.’



Communique aims to build the brand in the national press, as well as

targeting regional and local media to drive footfall into stores. The

Thorntons range of chocolates is only sold within Thorntons’ stores and

concessions. It has 400 shops throughout the UK, and annual sales of

around pounds 140 million.



After Easter, the company revealed it had overstocked on Easter eggs to

the tune of 200,000, with a value of pounds 1.4 million. The news was

greeted with a dramatic fall in share price. Thorntons retains Buchanan

Communications for its financial PR.



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