Agencies line up as Courts kicks off £20m review

Courts, the furniture retailer, is looking for a new agency to handle its £20 million advertising account. Currently with RPM3, Courts has begun approaching agencies with a view to drawing up a shortlist. The retailer is contacting agencies directly.

The company is attempting to rejuvenate the Courts brand and over the past six months has been rolling out a new logo in its stores. The logo is now being incorporated in its advertising.

In the early 90s, CDP introduced Bruce Forsyth to the retailer's advertising with a long-running campaign that saw the game-show host play a High Court judge. Later ads, by Lowe Howard-Spink, cast the store as the star in a series of spoof Police, Camera, Action-style spots starring the Fast Show actor Paul Shearer.

However, a major part of the chain's advertising is fast-turnaround, price promotional material.

The review follows the arrival of a new marketing chief, Mike Ryan, from First Choice Holidays earlier this year.

A Courts spokesman said: "We are currently working well with RPM3. There are no concrete plans at the moment to hold a pitch."

The Courts media account is held by MediaCom, which was awarded the business from Carat in 2002 without a formal pitch.

Courts is the UK's second-largest furniture advertiser. Its main rival, DFS, spends about £65 million a year on its advertising, according to Nielsen Media Research, while Harveys and Furniture Village spend £8 million and £6 million respectively.

Courts reported a decline in profits this year, with a £34 million loss for the 12 months to 31 March, compared with £11.5 million profit in 2003.