Kerri Martin to Head Marketing at Electric-Car Maker Coda

New CMO Will Try to Mirror Her Success at Mini, VW for Company's First Car

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Kerri Martin, once a high-profile marketer who did stints at BMW Mini and Volkswagen, will join electric-car maker Coda Automotive next week as its first chief marketing officer.

Kerri Martin
Kerri Martin
Industry observers will be watching Ms. Martin, 39, to see whether she can make marketing lightning strike again. She and Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Miami, created non-traditional blitz for the U.S. launch of the Mini small car in 2002 that was unique for the auto category, received rave reviews from industry pundits and created the concept of "motoring" for the brand. This time Ms. Martin will be working on the launch of the Coda sedan, the Santa Monica, Calif., company's first car, next year.

Ms. Martin was marketing-communications manager at Mini from 2000 through early 2005, when she jumped ship to VW as director-brand innovation. She was soon the center of attention again after moving the VW brand's $350 million account from Arnold, Boston, to Crispin without a review. The Miami shop created some of the most breakthrough, talked-about car work during Ms. Martin's 20-month stint at VW, including the jarring "Safety happens" ads and the "Get to know your fast" campaign.

As CMO at Coda, Ms. Martin, who has been a consultant since leaving Volkswagen of America in 2007, will oversee its go-to-market and media strategies, a spokeswoman at the company said.

It's unclear whether she'll be running an agency review while there. Coda's contract with its agency of record, independent hotshop Droga5, New York, expires at the end of August, and Ms. Martin would oversee an agency review if the marketer decides to hire another agency, the spokeswoman said. The spokeswoman said Droga5's scope of work has been complete.

Ms. Martin is a cum laude marketing graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has more than 15 years marketing experience working on iconic brands. She cut her marketing teeth managing Harley-Davidson's branded-apparel program before moving to BMW Motorcycles in 1997.

Ms. Martin, a 2004 Advertising Age Woman to Watch, said in a prepared statement: "I'm thrilled to be part of the electric-vehicle movement, especially with Coda, a company that is intent on disrupting the category conventions and has the vision to reinvent the car-buying and -ownership experience."

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