M&C Saatchi wins AA image overhaul task

The AA has picked M&C Saatchi to handle its £10 million

account in a move that will end its promotion as "the fourth emergency

service".



The line will disappear in favour of much more broadly based

advertising, reflecting a range of AA offerings from insurance to

checking the roadworthiness of used cars for prospective buyers.



Clare Salmon, the AA's director for customer and brand management, said:

"We've been 'the fourth emergency service' for a long time but that's no

longer enough to do justice to the full range of our products. It's time

for us to communicate a more coherent image to our customers."



Details of the new advertising, due to appear later this year, remain

under wraps, although M&C Saatchi is said to have come up with a

creative idea capable of running through the line and into the direct

marketing work by ehsrealtime and Rapier.



"We were pleasantly surprised to come out of the pitch with a 'live'

creative idea," Salmon added.



The AA's decision to split with HHCL & Partners after nine years follows

a major internal restructuring and less emphasis on breakdown services,

which have suffered from rising competition and falling profits.



M&C Saatchi takes on the account two years after parting company with

the RAC, although Salmon said the appointment was unconnected with the

agency's previous experience in the area.



The AA's Centrica parent is said to be eager to exploit the AA brand in

order to take advantage of the cross-selling opportunities with its

other subsidiaries - British Gas and the Goldfish bank.



The RAC, which has six million members compared with the AA's 11

million, has also been working on an expanded product offering with ads

by WCRS which carries the line: "A to B, we RAC to it." Two years ago it

underwent a controversial makeover as a "transport" company.



- Live Issue, p17.



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