London's WCRS named lead global agency on Land Rover

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LONDON -- The U.K.-based Rover Group has named London-based WCRS to handle all U.K. national advertising for its Land Rover sports utility vehicles, replacing Bates Dorland, London. In addition, WCRS will also act as lead agency for Land Rover's overseas markets, although its appointment will not affect arrangements with the Rover Group's existing marketing partners around the world, such as New York-based Grace & Rothschild Advertising for the U.S., Land Rover's biggest market outside the U.K. Land Rover uses around a dozen agencies in national markets around the world.

"Our job is to work on a global strategy," says WCRS Chairman Robin Wight. It will then be up to local ad agencies to apply that strategy. "Land Rover does not want common global advertising but they want a common global advertising strategy."

Land Rover spent approximately $10m on U.K. media advertising in 1996, although that amount is likely to increase with the upcoming launch into the 4X4 market of the new Land Rover Freelander. WCRS' first task is to develop a global advertising strategy for Freelander.

Commenting on the appointment, Martin Runnacles, Rover Group marketing director, says: "There is no doubt that success in the motor industry will be increasingly dependent on a clear and global relevant brand strategy. WCRS already have a reputation for building famous brands through powerful advertising campaigns. I am delighted that they will be working for us to strengthen the Land Rover brand both in the U.K. and overseas." WCRS is part of the Campus network, which is owned by the Havas Group.

Land Rover's appointment of WCRS does not come as a surprise. Since 1995, Robin Wight has acted as an independent advisor to the Rover Group board on strategic brand development issues. In this capacity he contributed to the increased clarity of brand positioning for Mini, MG, Rover Cars and Land Rover. This work was completed in December 1996. Ammirati Puris Lintas handles Rover Cars advertising worldwide.

Copyright April 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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