Luxury car brand Lexus has invited its UK agency Saatchi & Saatchi to pitch against its European agency Dentsu-owned BLD Europe for the &£10m European launch of its 4×4, RX300, in May.
The move follows Stuart McCullough’s promotion from director of Lexus in the UK to head of the Toyota-owned car brand’s operations in Europe. McCullough, who is based at Lexus’s European headquarters in Brussels, is seeing pitches from the two agencies next week.
The UK market often operates separately from the rest of the Continent because its sales account for about 70 per cent of the total European market. If BLD is successful, it will be the first time Lexus has run non-Saatchi advertising in the UK.
A decision has yet to be made on whether the pan-European launch will include television. Many European markets do not sell enough Lexus cars to justify the expense of a TV campaign. If this is the case, and BLD wins the business, Saatchi’s may still be given a brief to create the UK TV advertising.
Brussels-based BLD Europe was appointed three years ago to create consistent advertising for the brand across Europe (MW May 18, 2000).
The Lexus RX300, which is a sports utility vehicle, will make its European debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March and go on sale in the UK in May.