Wagamama brings in first agency help

Asian food chain Wagamama has called in its first retained consumer PR support to promote its restaurants.

Kazoo will provide PR support for product launches and will help with campaigns planned throughout the year. It will also be on hand to provide crisis support if necessary.

Wagamama marketing manager Ingrid Williamson said the brand wanted to raise its profile, but insisted the new focus on PR was not a response to the recession.

'The press was naturally interested in the brand when it was launched,' she said.

'We now need to raise the profile of the brand and talk about ourselves more. We need to keep delivering and we cannot be complacent. We don't want to go down the discount-voucher route, so we will be promoting the brand's value for money and great customer service.'

The restaurant chain has used agencies previously for crisis activity and local restaurant launches.

Wagamama has more than 100 restaurants in the UK, Europe, the Pacific Rim, the Middle East and the US. The chain was launched by Hong Kong-born restaurateur Alan Yau, who is also responsible for top London eateries Hakkasan and Yauatcha. He sold his stake in Wagamama in 1998, six years after its UK launch. Wagamama is now jointly owned by Lion Capital, Wagamama management and Hutton Collins.

Kazoo won the business in a two-way shootout with Phipps PR. The account will be headed by Kazoo board director Lena O'Shea, who said the agency would be working closely with the in-house team.

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