Skoda prepares marque relaunch

Volkswagen-owned car maker Skoda has started work on a relaunch of its brand in the UK, and has appointed Archibald Ingall Stretton (AIS) as its first below-the-line agency.

Creative Strategy, Skoda’s former UK advertising agency, has been disbanded as a result of the Grey/ Mellors Reay merger. A new group has been formed within the Grey network to handle Skoda’s above-the-line business. Grey Advertising handles Skoda across Europe.

A UK relaunch of the brand is expected in either July or August. It will involve the Volkswagen Group logo being dropped from Skoda’s corporate identity, leaving the brand to stand on its own for the first time since Volkswagen took it over in 1991.

Chris Hawken, marketing manager for Skoda UK, says a stronger brand is being developed around the idea that Skoda believes “people are more important than cars”.

He says: “Our brand is much weaker than our product. About 60 to 70 per cent of car buyers [will not accept the] Skoda brand. We have got to change their minds. [The relaunch] will hopefully make them reappraise the brand.”

AIS pitched against MSB&K, Harp, Dynamo and The Marketing Warehouse. It is charged with developing a direct marketing project to coincide with the relaunch.

Skoda spent &£12m above the line last year. It remains unclear what it will spend this year, although the bulk of advertising activity is likely be in spring next year, when a new supermini-sized model goes on sale in the UK.

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