Four agencies fight for MFI account

LONDON - Four agencies are in the running for furniture retailer MFI’s £26m media planning and buying account.

MFI kicked off a review of its media business in July, after appointing M&C Saatchi to its creative account last year.
Saatchi’s sister agency, Walker Media, has pitched for the business, in addition to the incumbent, ZenithOptimedia; independent, BLM; and OMD UK. A result is expected before the end of August.
The review, which is being handled by the AAR, is understood to be procurement-driven. MFI sold its struggling retail arm to private equity firm Merchant Equity Partners for a nominal fee of £1 in September 2006.
The group agreed to pay Merchant £74m between then and April 2008 to invest in the stores, as well as a further £52m in customer deposits. The remaining business, consisting of the successful Howdens builders’ merchants and a manufacturing business, was renamed Galiform.
MFI has courted controversy with its recent ad campaign featuring feuding families, which prompted a deluge of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority. The ads, devised by M&C Saatchi, portray families acting out at-home scenarios in MFI stores, including a mother and daughter fighting.

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