COLUMBUS, OH: Discount retailer Big Lots is in the midst of an account review to choose a U.S. PR AOR.
The company, which has 1,407 locations in the U.S. according to its website, issued the RFP about a month ago, said SVP of marketing Joice Wirkus, via email.
Six agencies were invited to compete, including Belle Communication, the shop Big Lots uses for projects, and three finalists will soon be asked to pitch company executives.
Wirkus did not disclose the names of the agencies involved, but said she is “looking at large and small; those skilled in retail and where we’d be a retail focus; and ones that are experts in consumer or corporate PR. We have a very diverse mix.” She also did not disclose the size of the company’s PR budget.
Wirkus added that to her knowledge, Big Lots has never had a PR AOR, but while working with Belle, the company “found that we could truly leverage PR to share curated stories of how our [products] can help fulfill customer needs.”
“In sum, we really liked the response that we received,” she added, “and we believe investing in this capability with an AOR can further help drive awareness of Big Lots as a solution provider — of value, everyday household essentials and surprising products — in a box that is easy and fun to shop.”
“Ultimately, we think we are the best kept secret in retail, and PR can be a tool to help us get the word out, thereby driving greater brand consideration,” Wirkus added, noting that the retailer wants to hire a team of “creative storytellers” that can function as an extension of its internal team.
Specifically, she said, the AOR will be charged with build brand awareness using “customer-centric stories.”
The winning agency will provide communications and PR services with some integration on social media, Wirkus said. For paid media, Big Lots uses media buying agency Media Storm and handles most creative duties in-house, using external agencies for projects as needed.
Big Lots’ fiscal Q2 net sales grew 31.3% to $1.6 billion as the company posted $452 million in net income.