Whitbread to put its Costa Coffee brief out to pitch

Leisure giant Whitbread is to hold a pitch in the new year for the PR account for Costa Coffee, its chain of coffee stores.

No shortlist has yet been drawn up, but incumbent Communique Public Relations, based in Manchester, is expected to repitch for the work. Communique will continue with the account this year, handling store openings in Cardiff and on London's Oxford Street.

It is likely Jackie Cooper Public Relations will also pitch, as the agency has just been taken on by Costa Coffee for pre-Christmas media relations work, and for a Valentine's Day project next year.

Whitbread also uses London agencies Cohn & Wolfe on TGI Friday restaurants, and Freud Communications for the Pizza Hut chain. But it may look beyond its current roster for the Costa Coffee account.

The successful agency will report to Laurie Morgan, marketing director. A spokesperson for Whitbread said the account review was automatic, and that the current work had 'come to a natural end'.

Fees for the account have not been decided, as they will come out of next year's budgets.

Costa Coffee has over 220 shops, and is opening outlets at a rate of one every five days.

Its advertising, done by Mother, and its passion for coffee philosphy, reflect the company's Italian authenticity.

As well as its stand-alone outlets, Costa Coffee is sold in selected Waterstone's bookstores, and in offices.

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