Granada to slash Forte marketing

Granada will slash marketing budgets and drop advertising agencies as it recoups money following its successful 3.9bn takeover of the Forte Group.

The television and leisure group plans to recoup up to 2.1bn through disposal of Forte brands. These include: the upmarket hotel brand Meridien; its Exclusive chain; its 68 per cent stake in The Savoy; and the Welcome Break motor way service outlets. At the heart of its cost-cutting is a desire to reduce marketing and advertising overheads.

“We will look at all marketing and advertising agencies and pare them down, but marketing activity in the future has not been decided,” says a Granada spokeswoman. “Forte has more than 500 suppliers and 30 agencies and it is firm Granada policy not to use more suppliers than are required.”

Among the agencies affected by the rationalisation are Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which handles Forte Hotels, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Young & Rubicam.

The rationalisation will lead to a loss of jobs. Forte recruited Richard Carrick as group marketing director shortly before the bid, but Granada has no tradition of group marketing heads and Carrick’s position could be one of the first to be reviewed.

Whitbread had arranged a 1bn deal with Forte to buy its roadside restaurants, which now lapses because of Granada’s success. But the company may re-open discussions with Granada over the Welcome Break chain.

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