Rick Bendel, Asda’s controversial marketing director, has added consumer public relations to his remit as part of a shift in the supermarket group’s marketing strategy.
The grocery giant is merging its marcoms functions as part of its attempts to launch more campaigns championing consumer rights. The company believes taking up customers’ concerns will reinforce its value-for-money proposition.
Bendel’s extended brief marks the biggest restructuring of marketing since he joined in November last year. The company has a seven-strong PR team reporting to John Longworth, the legal and external affairs group secretary.
Under the new structure, head of PR Rachel Fellows will lead a five-strong consumer PR division reporting to Bendel.
Bendel joined Asda from advertising group Publicis. In a surprise move he took the company’s £45m advertising out of Publicis, ending an 18-year relationship, and awarded it to sister agency Fallon London.
A four-man corporate PR team will continue to report to Longworth and be responsible for business PR such as financial reporting, job announcements and store openings. Paul Kelly, the corporate affairs director at food services company Compass Group, will head the division. He takes up the position on August 1.