CLIENT OF THE WEEK: Transforming the RAC’s turkey - Findlay Caldwell will hold a review of advertising at the RAC, John Owen writes

He’s following in Jan Smith’s footsteps and inheriting a campaign that was voted Campaign’s turkey of the year three weeks ago. So, in one way, you have to feel sorry for Findlay Caldwell. But, in another, he could hardly be joining the RAC at a better time.

He’s following in Jan Smith’s footsteps and inheriting a campaign

that was voted Campaign’s turkey of the year three weeks ago. So, in one

way, you have to feel sorry for Findlay Caldwell. But, in another, he

could hardly be joining the RAC at a better time.



The 46-year-old Scot is keen to avoid criticising the out-going

administration. However, he doesn’t quite succeed. ’I thought the

corporate identity work was excellent,’ he says, referring to last

year’s relaunch.



’As for the advertising, the job will be to make it more relevant to the

brand positioning.’



For the first time, Caldwell confirms in this interview that the RAC’s

advertising and media arrangements will be thrown open to external

review when he arrives in February - ’it’s one of the first things I’ll

do’.



While ’not averse’ to Smith’s loose arrangements involving hand-picked

players such as the Partners BDDH’s creative directors, John Dean and

Simon Green, Caldwell admits: ’It’s important for the RAC to have the

correct support mechanisms in place. Possibly a more traditional route

would be beneficial.’



Caldwell started his career in retail marketing at Queensway Warehouse

in the late 70s, moving through Dixons, Halfords, Boots and Littlewoods

before taking his present job at Dillons Bookstores in July 1996.



At Dillons, Caldwell is responsible for everything from strategic

marketing to store layout. At the RAC, he will not only take over

Smith’s strategic role but, as managing director for membership, will

also look after tactical marketing and direct sales.



However, he is not going to sacrifice brand advertising at the altar of

sales-generating tactical work. His aim is not necessarily to catch the

AA and become market leader. It is rather ’to strengthen the brand and

focus on the parts of the business that add value’.



To that end, part of his brief will be to develop new products and

services under the wide ’journeys company’ umbrella brand created by

last year’s relaunch. Well, at least it served some purpose.



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