He’s following in Jan Smith’s footsteps and inheriting a campaign
that was voted Campaign’s turkey of the year three weeks ago. So, in one
way, you have to feel sorry for Findlay Caldwell. But, in another, he
could hardly be joining the RAC at a better time.
The 46-year-old Scot is keen to avoid criticising the out-going
administration. However, he doesn’t quite succeed. ’I thought the
corporate identity work was excellent,’ he says, referring to last
’As for the advertising, the job will be to make it more relevant to the
For the first time, Caldwell confirms in this interview that the RAC’s
advertising and media arrangements will be thrown open to external
review when he arrives in February - ’it’s one of the first things I’ll
While ’not averse’ to Smith’s loose arrangements involving hand-picked
players such as the Partners BDDH’s creative directors, John Dean and
Simon Green, Caldwell admits: ’It’s important for the RAC to have the
correct support mechanisms in place. Possibly a more traditional route
would be beneficial.’
Caldwell started his career in retail marketing at Queensway Warehouse
in the late 70s, moving through Dixons, Halfords, Boots and Littlewoods
before taking his present job at Dillons Bookstores in July 1996.
At Dillons, Caldwell is responsible for everything from strategic
marketing to store layout. At the RAC, he will not only take over
Smith’s strategic role but, as managing director for membership, will
also look after tactical marketing and direct sales.
However, he is not going to sacrifice brand advertising at the altar of
sales-generating tactical work. His aim is not necessarily to catch the
AA and become market leader. It is rather ’to strengthen the brand and
focus on the parts of the business that add value’.
To that end, part of his brief will be to develop new products and
services under the wide ’journeys company’ umbrella brand created by
last year’s relaunch. Well, at least it served some purpose.