DFS Northern Upholstery, the Doncaster-based furniture retailer, is
on the point of moving the bulk of its pounds 30 million advertising
account into Young & Rubicam.
The retailer uses a number of advertising agencies, including Grey,
and the Publicity Bureau. Media buying, handled by MediaCom, is
understood to be unaffected by the move.
Y&R is thought to have won the business without a pitch. Before
Christmas, it pitched for the pounds 6 million Furniture Village
account. The business was awarded to the incumbent, Osprey, but it is
likely that Y&R then took its findings to DFS.
Y&R’s chief executive, Toby Hoare, would not comment on the
A DFS spokeswoman, however, did not deny the move. ’We look at new
agencies all the time. If a new agency comes up, we review it, but I
can’t comment further than that,’ she said.
DFS’s advertising, which has starred Michael Aspel and featured an
’Italian’ called Paolo in the past, has historically been price-led. The
current work features a man and woman extolling the virtues of DFS to
One industry source said: ’Y&R will have its work cut out because there
isn’t exactly a history of ground-breaking advertising for the
The company last called a pitch - between Grey and the Leith Agency - in
1996 as part of plans to expand in the South of England, but the review
was called off at the last minute. Since then, it has more than trebled
The furniture retail market has taken a hit over the past year. DFS
reported a 12 per cent fall in profits at the end of 1998, its first
decline for 28 years. The fall was attributed to the cost of driving
sales through expansion, price-cutting and advertising. The rival
retailer, Courts, also saw a 37 per cent drop in first-half pre-tax
profits in 1998.
Courts also reviewed its advertising arrangements last year, eventually
handing its account to Lowe Howard-Spink and increasing adspend from
pounds 13 million to a projected pounds 20 million.