Mazda outsources £1m work for key launches

LONDON - Japanese car manufacturer Mazda is reviewing its £1m direct marketing business in reversal of the company's tradition of handling DM in-house.

Mazda has invited Harrison Troughton Wunderman, Joshua, Black Cat and AGA to pitch for the account with a brief to promote key model launches in 2002 and 2003.

The review is being headed by Mazda UK marketing director Rob Lindley, who joined the firm in August from Ford Motor Company, and customer relationship management manager Michael Davey.

It has been triggered by the establishment of Mazda UK, a subsidiary of Mazda Japan which has been taken over distribution of Mazda in the UK from importer MCL.

MCL used in-house marketing services agency Amethyst to handle data and creative direct marketing work for Mazda.

Amethyst will be retained on the data side to manage Mazda's UK CRM database, Adapt. The four agencies are being asked to present ideas for strategic and creative development for Mazda as it prepares for the launch next year of the Mazda 6, a family car that will compete with the Nissan Vectra and the Ford Mondeo.

A revamped version of the MPV people carrier will be unveiled in 2002. The following year Mazda, is to launch a replacement for the Demio, a four-seater sports car that will aim to rival the Audi TT. The RX8, the next-generation version of the RX7, will also be unveiled in 2003.

Mazda's brand advertising is handled by J Walter Thompson, with media through MindShare.

Last week Mazda promoted North American marketing boss and chief operating officer Steve Odell to president of Mazda Motor Europe, to which Mazda UK reports.

Odell, who is to be replaced by Ford UK marketing director John Mendel, presided over the car-maker's 'Zoom Zoom' ad campaign in the US, and will oversee its implementation in the UK and Europe.

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