NEWS: RAC drops ‘virtual’ idea to seek shop

The RAC has been talking to a handful of agencies about its pounds 5 million creative account as it prepares for a major overhaul next year.

The RAC has been talking to a handful of agencies about its pounds 5

million creative account as it prepares for a major overhaul next year.

The RAC’s marketing director, Jan Smith, is thought to have spoken to

three mainstream agencies with a view to replacing the ‘virtual’

creative team she created specially for the task at Butterfield Day

Devito Hockney.

A decision could be made as early as next week according to some

sources, although the BDDH team is contracted until the end of 1996.

The RAC’s latest campaign broke earlier this month, although its last

major TV work, through Cogent, ran last summer. The new campaign was

created by the BDDH creative directors, John Dean and Simon Green.

Dean denied any knowledge of a creative review, but said: ‘Jan is always

looking around for other people. Nothing would surprise me. Our campaign

will take us through to the end of the year, but we haven’t been

commissioned to do any more.’

The creative review places the media account under the spotlight.

Jonathan Durden, a partner at the incumbent media agency, New PHD,

said: ‘We’re just getting on with our job.’

The rethink comes as the RAC prepares to hit back at its arch-rival, the

AA, which has claimed the high ground by positioning itself as the

‘fourth emergency service’. Meanwhile, other competitors, such as Green

Flag, have been steadily eroding the RAC’s market share.

The ad review follows a number of other key marketing developments which

have taken place at the RAC in recent months.

In May, it handed its pounds 4 million direct advertising account,

previously with GGT Direct, to the start-up, Lowe Direct. Last month,

Smith began a major restructure of the RAC’s marketing department with

the appointment of Andrew Mitchell as head of group communications,

responsible for all advertising, direct marketing and internal


Smith joined the RAC in April 1995 and took control of marketing in

January. In February, she set up a so-called ‘virtual agency’ which

allowed her access to selected creatives, planners and media

specialists at BDDH (Campaign, 16 February).

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