Alfa Romeo has ended months of speculation by appointing the Young & Rubicam (Y&R) network to handle its £50m pan-European advertising account. The move finally ends the Italian car marque’s 18-year relationship with fellow WPP network United.
Alfa Romeo UK marketing director Nicholas Bernard confirms the company is in the process of moving the account from United to Y&R. But Y&R’s UK agency, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, will not work on the business because of a conflict with Land Rover.
Y&R European chairman and chief executive Massimo Costa will lead the business and put a specific team together for any UK-only projects that arise. Speaking to Marketing Week, Bernard says that local Y&R offices from around Europe will be asked to present ideas for each project and the chosen agency will create a campaign that will run across Europe.
He says of Alfa’s decision to part company with United: “When an agency works with a brand for a long time it becomes part of that brand. If you need to become more radical that can be difficult. It’s easier to bring in someone else.”
Marketing Week revealed earlier this month that Alfa was close to handing the account to Y&R following months of negotiations (MW January 4). Cracks in the relationship with United began to appear when the agency lost out to Krow in a pitch to launch the Brera model in the UK last year (MW February 9, 2006).
A new campaign to support the launch of the Alfa Romeo Spider is due to break at the beginning of March but Bernard will not say which agency has created it.