"We were looking for a new agency to go with a new vision for
Rolls-Royce," Mr. Satanovsky told AdAge.com. "Ever since we started
marketing cars here again in 2003, it's still been viewed as a very
traditional company. We want to try to go forward with a more
dynamic marketing program to coincide with our new cars."
Mr. Satanovsky said part of the decision to choose
Kirshenbaum-Bond, which has done work for Van Cleef & Arpels
jewelers and NetJets private jets, was because of that experience
with similar luxury brands. But the marketing for the brand is
limited. Rolls-Royce has rarely, if ever, used traditional TV and
print campaigns, and in fact KBS&P is charged with creating
campaigns focused on North American car connoisseurs that include
direct marketing, acquisition and loyalty programs, customer
relationship management, segmentation strategies and interactive
marketing initiatives. KBS&P was recently named lead creative agency for BMW North America.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is a subsidiary of BMW, though they operate
as separate brands.
Rolls-Royce isn't looking to appeal to the masses here. The
company, Mr. Satanovsky said, sold just 2,711 cars worldwide last
year -- and yet that was its best year ever, with the vehicles
coming in at a sticker price anywhere between $180,000 and
$500,000. There are only 82 dealerships worldwide, including 32 in
the U.S., three in Canada and one in Mexico.
"Less than 1/10 of 1% of the U.S. can or will buy a
Rolls-Royce," said Steve Thibodeau, chief digital officer at
KBS&P told AdAge.com. "Their target audience is so exclusive,
it's almost mind-boggling how difficult it is to reach this
audience and the lifestyle they lead. Some of it is old money, some
is new money, some is inherited money. Some are rappers, some are
tech people, some are athletes. The way they shop for a car is like
shopping for a work of art. It's like cultivating a
Asked how he will approach such a thin population with, say,
direct mail, Mr. Thibodeau said, "It won't be with a postcard or a
No. 10 envelope. It will be more like hand-made artifacts; give
somebody something of value, something that makes them want to pick
up the phone and make an appointment (with a dealer)."
Mr. Thibodeau said KBS&P will also be heavily involved in
event marketing. In the past, Rolls-Royce has had a presence at
such events as golf tournaments at tony Pebble Beach, Calif., and
the Kentucky Derby. But local events are the bread and butter of
"These are very relationship-based sales, and from a marketing
standpoint it's very event-driven," said Thomas Roach, sales
manager for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars of Greenwich, Conn. "We'll do a
luncheon, for example, for 12 couples that are prospective buyers.
We'll use a fleet of Rolls-Royces and we'll all drive somewhere to
a very nice place. Rolls-Royce would rather do that than have an
open luncheon for 300 people where maybe you get two, three
Even parent company BMW doesn't feel the need to put big dollars
behind Rolls-Royce. In the first six months of the year, BMW has
spent $78 million while less than $100,000 has been against
Rolls-Royce, according to Kantar Media and Ad Age DataCenter research.
"We cater to a different clientele," said Mr. Satanovsky, who
noted that global Rolls-Royce sales are up 60% through the first
nine months of the year compared to 2010. "We're a small
manufacturer. It takes 22 days to build a ghost, up to 22 days to
build a Phantom because they're hand-made. With our Rolls-Royce
Bespoke program, it can take three to six months to customize a
car. Ordering a Rolls-Royce is really like commissioning a piece of