Co-op Group to hold pitch for funerals brief

The Co-operative Group is to put together a roster of PR agencies to better promote its funeral services business.

Countrywide Porter Novelli, Staniforth Communications and Communique have pitched for a place on the roster, as have Lancashire-based Catapult PR and Tangerine PR and Brahm PR.

Group deputy head of PR Phil Edwards said GCI was also in the running for the work.

Edwards, who said a decision on which firms had secured a place on the roster was expected 'within two to three weeks', added: 'It is very likely we will draw from this seven, but the door is always open.'

The Co-op is striving to tap into demand for more personalised funerals, with Edwards saying that more 'discussion' needed to be stimulated about 'what is still a taboo subject'.

QBO has promoted the Co-op's funeral services business for the past two years but is not involved in this repitch, although it continues to handle PR for the Co-op's food retail operation.

Edwards said: 'QBO has done some good work but we felt it was time to move on and try new things.'

In the past year, the Co-op has launched various initiatives to differentiate its funeral services brand. More than 80 funeral homes have adopted the Funeralcare brand, which has a lighter design than the sombre template typical in the sector.

The Co-op has around 525 funeral homes throughout the UK and handles around 90,000 funerals each year. It also operates two coffin factories and a national memorial masonry service.

Alongside Edwards, Co-op Group specialist retail division head of marketing Pauline O'Beirne and Funeralcare head of marketing Lorinda Sheasby are co-ordinating the drawing up of the roster, which will also include agencies that work in other marketing services sectors.

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