The move will reunite the agency with the brand after almost two years, during which time pan-European campaigns were co-ordinated from Seat's home base in Barcelona. Bates UK was briefed for a TV campaign to relaunch Seat in the UK in February 2000, two years after Bates Europe took over the company's £100 million international account. Later that year, however, the manufacturer opted to continue without an agency of record in the UK, with work being adapted from Bates' Spanish sister agency.
Seat's most recent TV campaign in the UK, for the launch of the Ibiza model, had to be amended after the BACC deemed the strapline, "Born out of passion and power", unacceptable.
Seat has an extremely limited presence in the UK, with a market share of 1.15 per cent, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, and a model range that is clustered at the lower end of the market. Agencies have traditionally been instructed not to use the manufacturer's membership of the Volkswagen group to back it in the UK, for fear of cannibalising VW sales.
"Seat is a growing brand in the UK with some great new cars on the road and more in development, Bates UK's managing director, Chris Herd, said.
"This is an exciting time to get involved."
Bates' appointment will not affect UK media planning and buying, which will continue to be handled by MediaCom.