Tesco Eyes PR Revival With Blue Rubicon Hire
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Holmes Report

Tesco Eyes PR Revival With Blue Rubicon Hire

Supermarket fightback follows numerous reputation issues over the past 12 months.

Arun Sudhaman

Tesco Eyes PR Revival With Blue Rubicon Hire

LONDON—Tesco has called in Blue Rubicon as it attempts to rebuild consumer trust following a year marked by a series of blows to the UK retail giant's reputation.

The decision to hire new PR counsel, according to the Daily Mail, has been made by Dave Lewis, the new Tesco CEO who is charged with overseeing the company's fightback.

UPDATE: Specifically, the company has confirmed that Blue Rubicon founder Fraser Hardie will spearhead the turnaround assignment.

"Blue Rubicon is a proven adviser to boards around the world on corporate and brand turnarounds," said Lewis in a statement. "It will lead on reputation strategy, positioning and reputation campaigning headed by founder Fraser Hardie."

Tesco has also hired BBH, previously Waitrose's agency, to oversee advertising. Lewis said that both BBH and Blue Rubicon will "play a central role as Tesco reconnects with customers and rebuilds trust in the brand in the coming years."

Blue Rubicon previously worked with Sainsbury's, but it is understood that this relationship has ended, after the Holmes Report last week revealed that the supermaket chain is reviewing UK PR duties.

In addition to an accounting scandal, a 92 percent decline in profits, and the departure of chief executive Philip Clarke, Tesco also found itself at the center of the UK’s latest food safety scare last year. The situation raised questions over the company's attempts to lobby the UK government to prevent publication of food poisoning contamination rates.

Tesco's financial PR duties are currently handled by Brunswick. The company also enlists a number of agencies for consumer PR support.

Under new CEO Lewis, Tesco is aiming to streamline its business, after numerous years of expansion into a diverse range of businesses. A major cost-cutting exercise is expected as the company looks to conserve cash and bring down debt levels.

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