Communique takes over Beefeater consumer PR

Communique has added another Whitbread brand to its portfolio after being awarded the Beefeater PR account in an uncontested pitch. Larkspur Communications, which held the consumer and regional PR brief for the UK’s largest full-service restaurant chain during 1999, was not asked to repitch.

Communique has added another Whitbread brand to its portfolio after

being awarded the Beefeater PR account in an uncontested pitch. Larkspur

Communications, which held the consumer and regional PR brief for the

UK’s largest full-service restaurant chain during 1999, was not asked to

repitch.



The move represents further consolidation of Whitbread’s third party PR

activity - Communique already works with group brands Costa Coffee,

Heineken, Boddingtons and Whitbread Pub Partnerships.



In February the group restructured its internal communications with

Beefeater coming under the newly-formed restaurants division (PR Week,

11 February).



Larkspur had been hired to help revitalise the chain, which has more

than 250 outlets and serves 19 million meals a year.



Communique joint managing director Brian Beech disclosed that the agency

had pitched unsuccessfully for the account 18 months ago. ’They came

back to us,’ he said. ’It will be a combination of national PR, raising

the Beefeater profile, and a whole host of local PR.’



The challenge - pushing the Beefeater brand against the proliferation of

other ’eating out’ experiences - remains the same as before.



The agency plans to use television chef Brian Turner, who appeared on

the TV show This Morning and revamped the chain’s menu, for some

promotional activity.



Analysts judged that Beefeater parent Whitbread was vulnerable to a

hostile takeover last year as its share price came close to a four-year

low, but performance has improved.



The group, which has a market value of pounds 3 billion, owns other

restaurant chains including Pizza Hut, Cafe Rouge and TGI Friday.



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