Costa Coffee in hunt for creative shop

Costa Coffee, the Whitbread-owned coffee shop chain, is talking to agencies about its UK creative account, worth an estimated £2 million.

The coffee retailer is understood to be in conversations with a number of agencies about an above-the-line brief. Costa has recently announced plans to increase its number of UK outlets. The advertising will support this expansion.

Costa already has more than 390 outlets in the UK ,but it is planning to open a further 300 by 2008.

Last November, the chain appointed Mike Lawless to the new post of head of UK marketing. Lawless will develop and implement Costa's UK advertising and marketing strategy as it expands.

Lawless reports to Costa's marketing director, David Hutchinson. Hutchinson is looking to make Costa an international brand and is overseeing the launch of Costa Coffee in India.

The review does not affect Meteorite, which is responsible for Costa Coffee's in-store, online and promotional marketing. Last October, the agency developed a mailer, distributed via the national press, that highlighted the chain's Italian roots.

Costa was founded by the Italian Brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa in 1971.

Its international operations include 90 outlets in Ireland, Cyprus and the Middle East.

Comment, page 52.

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