A spokesperson for the embattled retailer said it had not yet approached PR agencies or drawn up a pitch list, but expected to start meeting agencies ‘towards Christmas time’. MFI marketing director Michael Greenhalgh will preside over the pitch.
MFI has handed the Manchester office of full-service comms firm McCann Erickson a six-month brief to look after its PR in the interim.
Until recently, Brunswick handled MFI’s corporate and financial PR. But the agency stopped work on the account after MFI’s retail business was sold to private equity outfit MEP Partners for a nominal sum of £1 in September last year. Former owner Galiform wrote off a loss of over £187m after selling the chain.
PR and marketing firm Cargo Cult Communications was hired to set up a press office, but has also stopped working with MFI. MEP Partners has pledged £102m to return MFI to profit.
MFI is attempting to regain lost ground after this summer’s multimillion-pound TV ad campaign recreating domestic scenes in MFI stores.
One of the ads showing a wife slapping her husband was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority. It attracted hundreds of complaints, and has since been re-shot.
Figures from market researcher YouGov’s BrandIndex show a slide in satisfaction with the brand.
An MFI press officer said that the company’s decision to take on PR support for 2008 coincides with a number of ‘new projects and launches’ expected next year.