Alamo, the international car rental company, is splitting with M&C
Saatchi after only 20 months and assigning Grounds Morris the creative
work on its pan-European account.
The decision to appoint the creative independent, which is run by the
former Euro RSCG joint creative directors, Steve Grounds and Rob Morris,
ends the company’s current arrangements under which M&C Saatchi held the
UK business and FCB ran it across Europe.
Janet Ball, Alamo’s senior manager for marketing in Europe, said: ’We
felt we would be better served by a creative independent that could
devote the time and people to our account.’
Grounds said: ’We believe this is the first time a UK creative
independent has taken a high-profile account from a major agency.’
Alamo spent a minimal amount through M&C Saatchi last year but claims
budgets will increase as new services are launched.
The appointment comes at a time of intense competition in the European
car rental market with all the major players, including finding their
margins under pressure.
The brief to Grounds Morris is to take a cohesive look at Alamo’s
advertising across key markets including the UK, Germany, Holland,
Switzerland and Belgium as well as licensed operations in Ireland,
Greece, Malta, Portugal and the Czech Republic. It is now working on a
poster and radio campaign due to break in September.
Media buying, which is handled by BBJ Media Services in the UK and Carat
across Europe, is unaffected.
The catalyst for the account switch was Neil Campbell, who ran the
business at Walton & Wiggins. He has launched an account-handling and
new-business company to work alongside Grounds Morris (Campaign, last
M&C Saatchi picked up the Alamo pan-European creative account in October
1995 because of its close association with the former BA marketing
director, Mike Batt, who was Alamo’s vice-president of sales and
marketing at the time.