Smart seeks shop for multi-model initiative

Smart, DaimlerChrysler's small and quirky car, is looking for its first-ever direct marketing agency as it pursues its mission to become a multi-product brand.

Four agencies are believed to be involved in the pitch process, which is being overseen by Smart head of marketing Sam Bridger. It is unclear exactly what the new agency's brief will be, but it will include building sales of Smart's existing and forthcoming models. As part of its direct approach, the company launched an online and e-mail campaign in March through digital consultancy Syzygy, a strategy that has led to increased data capture.

This year Smart has extended its range with the Roadster, a two-seater car designed in the style of a 60s sports car. The company is launching the four-seater ForFour early next year.

Smart previously produced DM work through its former ad agency Maher Bird Associates. However, the search for a new DM agency follows Farm's appointment to handle its above-the-line UK advertising account, which it is doubling to £10m (Marketing, July 31). The increase in budget is the result of the company's planned launches and is likely to see the brand advertise on TV for the first time.

For the first year, creative for the ForFour model will be led by Springer & Jacoby in Germany and adapted by Farm for the UK market. However, Farm is responsible for leading the creative on all Smart's other models and in its second year, the agency is likely to have creative autonomy.

Smart also appointed Farm's communications planning arm, Monkey, to work alongside its media agency BJK&E, whose hold on the account is unaffected.

The hunt comes as Smart is generating impressive sales in the UK car market. In the year to the end of July, sales increased from 4460 to 5284, an increase of 18.48%, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The concept behind the car was born from research conducted in the 70s and 80s that found that, on average, most cars carried 1.6 people. VW and Swatch originally developed the concept, until the venture was acquired by Mercedes-Benz, which bought Swatch in 1992.

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