Rapier beats four to take over Smart car below-the-line brief

Rapier has landed the direct marketing account for DaimlerChrysler's Smart car range following a five-way pitch.

The agency saw off competition from MBO, 23Red, Uncle Terry and the incumbent, The Partnership, to win the below-the-line business and join the recently appointed Farm on Smart's roster.

Rapier will now take care of creative for Smart's direct marketing and will implement its customer relationship management programmes. Its brief is to recruit and convert prospects while increasing the levels of repeat purchase from existing Smart car owners.

John Townshend, Rapier's creative director, said: "The opportunity to work with the freshest car brand around, at a time so crucial to its commercial development, excited everyone here. I hope our passion for the business came across during the pitch and will be demonstrated by our work in the future."

Sam Bridger, the head of marketing for Smart UK, added: "Rapier stood out for its strategic thinking and its ability to communicate the unique brand values of Smart creatively in one-to-one communications."

DaimlerChrysler is to step up its marketing activity for Smart over the next 12 months. When Farm was appointed the company pledged to increase the above-the-line spend for the brand to £10 million. It also appointed Farm's media planning arm, Monkey, to work alongside Smart's media agency, BJK&E.

Smart will be expanding its range in 2004 to include a roadster model and a 4x4, to be launched in April.