Homebase appoints Havas Media as it seeks to 'turn around' faltering business

DIY retailer parted ways with Initiative.

Homebase: 2016 ad by Leo Burnett
Homebase: 2016 ad by Leo Burnett

Homebase has appointed Havas Media to manage its media planning and buying after a pitch process managed by Ebiquity.

The review came on the back of the retailer parting ways with Initiative UK following a disastrous three years for the brand, which was subject to what has been decried as the worst retail takeover in corporate history.

Havas Media's appointment signals a "new approach" to Homebase's ad strategy, "combining brand and performance across on- and offline channels" to boost share and brand health.

The agency will start working with the brand from 1 April and has formed a team of integrated specialists with a "data-driven performance mindset" to handle the account.

Grainne Arnold, Homebase's retail marketing manager, said: "We were really impressed by Havas Media’s strategic and data capability. The passion shown through the process makes them our ideal partners as we turn around and grow our business."

Homebase, which is 40 this year, was acquired by Australian business Wesfarmers in January 2016 for £340m. The deal became a textbook example of how not to undertake a retail acquisition and takeover. Wesfarmers made changes to Homebase's shops and product range, while rebranding some stores as Bunnings. However, it ultimately failed to understand the complexities of the UK's DIY market and was outperformed by rival B&Q.

Wesfarmers sold the business in May for £1 to restructuring specialist Hilco, which has rescued the likes of HMV.