Citroen is slashing its UK marketing activity and has culled its
below-the-line business in response to consumers’ increasing protest
against ’rip-off’ car prices.
The manufacturer will devote more of its budget to discounting. Brand
advertising for the smaller cars, including the Saxo, has been reworked,
carrying a discounting message which offers pounds 1,000 off the cars
plus free insurance.
Citroen has frozen its 12-year relationship with Carlson as a result of
the move, just four months after the below-the-line agency fought to
retain the pounds 12 million business in a review.
The cutback is thought to have stemmed from declining revenues as a
result of consumers’ growing dissatisfaction with UK car retailers,
which are facing decreasing sales as customers choose to import cars
direct from EU countries at reduced costs.
According to figures compiled by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and
Traders, total UK car sales were down 1.48 per cent year on year to the
end of October.
However, Citroen recorded an 8.2 per cent decline over the same
Event marketing has also been culled and sponsorship and advertising
could be affected. Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, Citroen’s advertising agency,
is expected to focus on price promotional work for the forthcoming
launches of the Xsara Picasso and the C6 Lignage executive car in the
UK, in addition to branding campaigns.
Although Carlson’s contract with the car manufacturer has not been
cancelled, the agency has been told that there is no money available for
database, direct marketing or promotional activity.
It is not thought that Carlson will have to make any redundancies
following the loss of business. All account and creative staff assigned
to Citroen have been redeployed on to other accounts.
The Consumers’ Association has put its weight behind a full-scale
campaign to encourage British consumers to buy their cars from
It made its views clear at the London Motor Show at Earl’s Court in
October, where it launched the ’Great British Rip-off’ campaign.