NP and Borkowski are in a head-to-head battle for the job. Communique PR and The Outside Organisation, which pitched with Cunning, were among the five PR agencies invited to pitch but failed to make the final shortlist last week.
The three-year brief is said to have a budget of around £500,000 per year. It consists of corporate and media relations, as well as events work such as store promotions.
The successful agency will be expected to increase both footfall in Thorntons shops and sales figures of products with a campaign to raise the company’s profile with consumers and businesses.
It will report to Thorntons events, promotions and communications manager James Mercer, who is conducting the pitch alongside trading and marketing director Philip Dowty.
Thorntons currently operates more than 400 shops and cafés, and in excess of 180 franchises across the UK, with a turnover of £160m.
The company’s Gift Delivery Service, set up in 1997, has a separate PR account and Communique PR’s brief to promote this service remains unaffected by the pitch.
Thorntons was set up in 1911 by Joseph William Thornton. It floated on the stock market in 1988, but family members are still involved in the business.
The firm recently gave two of its best-selling ranges a new look: Special Toffee and Continental chocolates account for almost £80m of sales.