Zipcar Taps Campbell Ewald, Hires New CMO

Decision Comes a Month After Avis Deal to Buy Company

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With both a new parent company and a new CMO, Zipcar has selected Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell Ewald as its new global creative and brand strategy agency, the company said in a statement. Separately, the company has hired Brian Harrington for the CMO role, Ad Age has learned.

The agency selection follows a lengthy agency review going back to last summer and the departure of CMO Rob Weisberg shortly after the process began. Avis Budget Group bought the hourly car-rental company last month for nearly $500 million, which Ad Age reported then would not impact the Zipcar nameplate.

Mr. Harrington joined Zipcar as its new CMO this month, according to LinkedIn. He was most recently the principal of Boston-based boutique consultancy The Harbor Group.

Zipcar's selection of an Interpublic agency ensures that the Avis and Zipcar brand marketing strategies remain independent, with support from different holding companies.

Full Contact had handled various creative duties for the company. The agency did not immediately respond to a call for comment.

In February 2012, Avis consolidated its media and creative duties within Publicis Groupe, selecting Spark as its media agency and Leo Burnett as its creative agency. By August, it dropped its 50 year-old tagline, "We try harder," in favor of Burnett's tagline "It's your space." The company had worked with Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann and WPP's Mediacom prior to the shift, which was made under Avis CMO Jeannine Haas.

Zipcar also hired Publicis' Digitas late last year to handle digital-media planning and buying.

The Avis review and most recent Zipcar review come as hourly car-rental brands find themselves competing in a rapidly crowding category. Last year, Enterprise, which operates the Enterprise, Alamo and National brands, acquired hourly rental company Mint Cars On-Demand. Hertz said it planned to equip its entire 375,000-vehicle U.S. fleet for hourly rental and acquired Dollar Thrifty for $2.6 billion. Adding to the fray are also companies like Car2Go, a Daimler car-sharing subsidiary, and RelayRides, a car-sharing startup that recently inked a partnership with General Motors.

In 2011, Zipcar spent about $7 million on measured media, according to Kantar Media. That year, the company debuted its IPO, and just before it went public it announced plans to go global with the acquisition of U.K. car-sharing company Streetcar. Avis Budget spent the majority of its measured media, $42 million, on the Avis brand, while it spent about $14 million on Budget.

While much smaller in size, the Zipcar account marks a return to automotive-related advertising for Campbell Ewald after losing the Chevy account in 2010. "We look forward to making an impact by helping them achieve their global business goals through brand strategy and creative efforts," said Barbara Yolles, CMO of Campbell Ewald.

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