Citroen dumps direct work in marketing cull

Citroen is slashing its UK marketing activity and has culled its below-the-line business in response to consumers’ increasing protest against ’rip-off’ car prices.

Citroen is slashing its UK marketing activity and has culled its

below-the-line business in response to consumers’ increasing protest

against ’rip-off’ car prices.



The manufacturer will devote more of its budget to discounting. Brand

advertising for the smaller cars, including the Saxo, has been reworked,

carrying a discounting message which offers pounds 1,000 off the cars

plus free insurance.



Citroen has frozen its 12-year relationship with Carlson as a result of

the move, just four months after the below-the-line agency fought to

retain the pounds 12 million business in a review.



The cutback is thought to have stemmed from declining revenues as a

result of consumers’ growing dissatisfaction with UK car retailers,

which are facing decreasing sales as customers choose to import cars

direct from EU countries at reduced costs.



According to figures compiled by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and

Traders, total UK car sales were down 1.48 per cent year on year to the

end of October.



However, Citroen recorded an 8.2 per cent decline over the same

period.



Event marketing has also been culled and sponsorship and advertising

could be affected. Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, Citroen’s advertising agency,

is expected to focus on price promotional work for the forthcoming

launches of the Xsara Picasso and the C6 Lignage executive car in the

UK, in addition to branding campaigns.



Although Carlson’s contract with the car manufacturer has not been

cancelled, the agency has been told that there is no money available for

database, direct marketing or promotional activity.



It is not thought that Carlson will have to make any redundancies

following the loss of business. All account and creative staff assigned

to Citroen have been redeployed on to other accounts.



The Consumers’ Association has put its weight behind a full-scale

campaign to encourage British consumers to buy their cars from

abroad.



It made its views clear at the London Motor Show at Earl’s Court in

October, where it launched the ’Great British Rip-off’ campaign.



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