KFC set to boost Freuds brief in comms rethink

Fast-food chain KFC is reviewing its UK consumer PR strategy for 2004, and is on the verge of consolidating its entire UK PR account with Freud Communications.

KFC is thrashing out details of a consumer PR contract with Freuds, its retained corporate and crisis PR agency, having ceased to work with three-year retained consumer PR agency Storm Communications.

KFC brand manager Matthew Critchley said that the PR review had been triggered by ‘significant strategic changes’ in the brand’s marketing strategy over the past 12 months, specifically the launch and ongoing push behind the chain’s ‘Soul Food’ advertising campaign.

Freud Communications director Oliver Wheeler confirmed that the agency had ‘recently held discussions about the possibility of doing some consumer work for KFC in 2004’, but declined to elaborate, stressing that talks were ongoing.

Critchley said future consumer PR activity would be ‘heavily linked’ to the Soul Food theme, but would not go into more detail.

Freuds’ relationship with KFC stretches back to 1997, when the agency won both the consumer and corporate contracts. However, Freuds lost the consumer account to Storm almost three years ago (PRWeek, 31 March 2000).

Critchley, who joined KFC just two months ago, said he had ‘not talked to anyone apart from Freuds and [did] not plan to’.

Critchley reports to KFC marketing director Claire Harrison-Church, who has overseen a creative overhaul at the brand since joining two-and-a-half years ago from Lever Fabergé.

Storm Communications MD Derek Lowe described the end of his agency’s contract – understood to have been worth around £150,000 per year – as ‘amicable’.

He added: ‘We understand the company wants to put its [marcoms] resources in a new direction.’

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