Direct news: Churchill to overhaul direct mail strategy

Churchill Insurance is to plough millions of pounds into developing a direct mail strategy to establish a closer relationship with customers.

The company, which is owned by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), is seeking its first direct marketing agency.

The agency's brief will be to devise a direct strategy to support its existing ads featuring the Churchill nodding dog. The character is now expected to be used in mobile phone picture-messaging and online activity.

Marketing director Peter Corfield is handling the review and has invited a number of agencies to pitch.

Churchill Insurance currently produces direct mail in-house, as well as using retained agencies such as ad shop Elliott Borra Perlmutter to create mailings.

The search for a dedicated direct agency reflects the brand's desire to increase its market share aggressively by improving the way it cross-sells between its home and car insurance customers.

Earlier this year Churchill threatened legal action against retailers selling imitations of its nodding dog.

A spokesman said the threat of action was successful and that retailers are no longer stocking counterfeit models. The insurer claims to have sold more than 20,000 official versions of the dog in the past year.

In June last year Royal Bank of Scotland announced it was to buy Churchill from Credit Suisse for £1.2bn.

At the time, RBS said it would keep the Churchill brand and its Direct Line business separate.

The former is traditionally stronger in home insurance, while Direct Line specialises in motor insurance.

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