Rover pledges to keep advertising

Rover this week vowed to keep its advertising momentum going in a bid to maintain the support of dealers fearful of slumping sales after the beleaguered car maker was dumped by its BMW parent.

Rover this week vowed to keep its advertising momentum going in a

bid to maintain the support of dealers fearful of slumping sales after

the beleaguered car maker was dumped by its BMW parent.



TV campaigns supporting the 25 and 45 models, which have already been

paid for, will run until the end of May along with direct marketing

activity and national press inserts. ’We’re operating a ’business as

usual’ policy,’ a Rover spokesman said.



Meanwhile, Rover executives are discussing how they can reassure

potential customers worried about the supply of spare parts and

servicing arrangements for the cars.



’There must be a degree of uncertainty among customers about warranties

and we will have to clarify that,’ the spokesman added. ’At the moment

we’ve no plans to do this through advertising because we are in a period

of transition.’



Rover acknowledges that allowing TV advertising to continue is

preferable to incurring heavy financial penalty if the commercials are

pulled at a late stage.



It is also reluctant to be off air during one of the most active periods

of the year for new car sales and while it has new models to

promote.



Above all, Rover is worried that a lack of advertising will send the

wrong signals to its dealers. ’There is a degree of concern among

dealers and their frustration at the situation is being noticed,’ the

spokesman admitted.



Rover’s pledge came as its agency, M&C Saatchi, was due to meet with Jon

Moulton, the head of Alchemy, Rover’s would-be buyer.



Alchemy has indicated that it wishes to continue working with the

agency, which won the pounds 40 million creative task for Rover UK six

months ago and was awarded its international business in January.



At the same time, WCRS, which handles BMW in the UK, is understood to be

in discussions about establishing a separate agency in order to retain

its Land Rover account after the car maker’s sale by BMW to Ford.



So far, BMW has not briefed its UK shop to produce advertising to help

restore an image which has been battered by the Rover sale.



Land Rover’s sale has not derailed the pitch for the creative assignment

on the dollars 30 million North American account. Kirshenbaum Bond &

Partners is contesting the business with Crispin Porter & Bogusky of

Miami and GSD&M of Austin, Texas.



Perspective, p14.



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