The RAC is to drop its unconventional approach to marketing by
dissolving its virtual agency system and replacing marketing director
Jan Smith with Littlewoods’ former marketing chief, Findlay
The company is calling a full review of its advertising and media
requirements, which are currently carried out by a small team of
freelance planners and account handlers and a creative team at Partners
BDDH. Incumbent media agency The Media Business Group has already
resigned its account.
The shake-up follows a radical repositioning of the RAC brand as a broad
transport management service earlier this year.
The changes also involved a massive re-branding programme, which saw the
traditional RAC crown logo replaced with a more futuristic one, and a
pounds 4m TV campaign using austere documentary-style ads.
The strategy has been criticised for failing to close the gap between
the RAC, which has six million members, and its rival the AA, which has
Sources also suggest that internal research conducted by the RAC has
found its members were unhappy with its new, futuristic branding and
would prefer a warmer image.
Smith, who has a reputation as a marketing maverick, announced she was
to leave the RAC in October. Cordwell will join the company in January,
as Smith exits, and is expected to develop more conventional ads
targeting a broader spectrum of consumers. The RAC has already ended its
contract with members of its ’virtual’ ad agency.
A spokeswoman for the RAC refused to confirm the identity of the
company’s new marketing director but said a creative and media agency
review was already under way.
’Our current suppliers fulfilled the job they were brought in to do and
the virtual agency’s contract has been finished,’ said the
’If we have a new marketing director it will be his responsibility to
look at our media opportunities.’
The RAC’s relationship with its below-the-line agency, Lowe Direct, will