Volvo looks for global lead agency

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STOCKHOLM -- Swedish car manufacturer Volvo has set up an internal team to examine whether it should appoint a lead agency from among its roster agencies worldwide to take charge of a new account, tentatively named the Volvo Global Image Account.

"We are talking to agencies, but first we must sit down and work out direction such a future strategy should take. We do not have concrete plans, just proposals," says Ulf Nord, the Swedish auto group's senior international marketing executive, based in Brussels.

The brain-storming, coordinated by the company's international marketing division in Brussels and group-marketing unit in Gothenburg, Sweden, is aimed at developing a more consistent approach to the launch of new series cars and at creating more cohesive global campaigns. Currently, the company runs its advertising on a country-by-country basis.

Volvo is expected to maintain its relationship with regional and national agencies, while appointing one or two agencies to coordinate parallel global marketing strategies.

Under current strategy, Volvo's country managers are free to decide on their own agencies; the group works with around 104 different ad agencies in 86 countries worldwide, plus others on one-off projects.

The single lead-agency approach is not new for Volvo, although the company has stopped short of launching worldwide campaigns driven by a lead agency. It assigned Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO London to manage a pan-European campaign for the launch of the S40 and V40 in 1996, and Volvo officials are known to have been pleased with the results of this project.

Copyright April 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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