QBO wins MFI brand and reputation job

Home furniture retailer MFI has added QBO to its agency roster in a

move which should add pounds 300,000 to the PR firm's fee income.



QBO was appointed two weeks ago on a brand and corporate reputation

brief.



The agency was handed the account - with a budget of pounds 1m and fees

understood to account for a third of that - without a pitch.



MFI customer and strategy director Mark Horgan is overseeing the

relationship from the client's side.



MFI marketing director John Rosby will be in charge of day-to-day

liaison and will work alongside QBO deputy managing director Shirley

Hanley.



Although Horgan did not stage a formal pitch process for the business,

he is thought to have discussed a corporate and brand account with some

of the other agencies on the MFI roster before awarding the year-long

contract, which started last week, to QBO.



These include Brunswick, which handles the company's financial PR, and

Manchester-based LeedexGTPR, which runs product and store-related PR

activity.



CirKle Communications handles PR for the firm's online activities.



'The first stage is a research and planning process to ratify in which

direction we shall seek to move the brand,' Hanley said.



The company's 30 per cent UK kitchen and bedroom appliance market share

makes it easily the largest player in the market.



MFI, founded in 1964, went through a revamp in 1994 to improve its dowdy

image.



Stores were made lighter and a national delivery and distribution system

was implemented to replace the earlier cash-and-carry model.



'Consumer attitudes have changed over the last decade. Our campaign will

acknowledge and build on these attitudes,' Hanley said.



MFI has a market value of more than pounds 600m. In addition to 191 MFI

Homeworks and MFI high street stores, it operates 174 Howden joinery

trade outlets, 50 Hygena stores in Curry's and 119 Hygena Cuisine stores

in Europe.



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