Interpublic Group specialist media agency BrandConnection has resigned the account for the HomeForm Group, the holding company behind brands including Moben Kitchens and Sharps Bedrooms.
BrandConnection had held the account for 11 years and it is thought that a depressed retail environment is behind the decision to offload the troubled business.
HomeForm, a houseware specialist and domestic equipment installer and supplier, competes against Kingfisher, whose B&Q arm has suffered from falling sales this year, as has the MFI chain. The home improvements trend has slowed in recent times and the sector has been hit hard.
Other brands under the HomeForm banner include Bathrooms Direct, Dolphin Bathrooms and Kitchens Direct. The HomeForm Group has spent more than &£10m advertising its portfolio of brands in the past year.
In the past, HomeForm has come under fire from the Advertising Standards Authority for using an umlaut as part of its Moben branding, after a complaint to the ASA that the umlaut misleadingly implied that the brand was of German origin (MW September 13, 2001). HomeForm and its Moben brand are based in Manchester and claimed that it was in fact “two dots”, not an umlaut. The ASA upheld the complaint and ordered the company to remove the two dots or add a disclaimer in its advertising.
At the time, the company argued that the dots formed part of a combined logo that covered HomeForm’s other subsidiaries, Sharps Bedrooms and Dolphin Bathrooms, and it continues to use the logo.