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
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
Another aim, which led to the change in agency, is to make Thorntons
less reliant on seasonal sales, such as Christmas and Valentine’s
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.