Treacy back on Škoda as VW appoints Proximity

skoda customer backlash 2Volkswagen Group has brought the curtain down on Škoda’s 14-year relationship with AIS London by appointing Proximity London to handle its direct marketing business, reuniting creative chief John Treacy with the brand on which he made his name.

Proximity will be responsible for all direct consumer communications from prospecting through to repurchase and will also be part of the all-agency group supporting larger brand and car launch campaigns.

The appointment means that the agency – which scooped the DMA Awards grand prix last month – now looks after four brands for the Volkswagen Group UK, including Volkswagen Passenger Car, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Seat. It is due to start work this month, with the first creative work expected to run as early as February.

The move reunites Proximity’s executive creative director Treacy with the brand on which he built his reputation. He was one of the key creatives who turned the car marque from a joke into a mainstream brand when he worked under Steve Stretton at AIS. He has been at Proximity nearly 18 months, joining from Elvis.

The agency first scooped the business in 2001 after being appointed by then head of CRM Chris Hawkin. One of its most awarded pieces of work was the agency’s first campaign for the company, which is now seen as a direct mail classic.

The “Live with the badge” mailing, devised by Stretton and Matt Morley-Brown, was aimed at tackling prejudice against the Škoda brand by making people more comfortable with the Škoda badge itself.

A second execution, devised by Treacy and Dan Colley, was designed to look like an official document from Škoda’s head of technical development and research in the Czech Republic; this arrived complete with an employee file and a logbook. Both went on to pick up numerous industry gongs, including DMA Awards, Campaign Direct, John Caples and Echos.

Škoda digital marketing and CRM manager Sarah Clayton-Jones said: “Proximity has a great reputation in the industry and years of proven experience within Volkswagen Group UK, making the agency a clear choice as our dedicated CRM partner. We’re excited to see how it will develop our CRM programmes through its group knowledge and creative product.”

Proximity chief executive Mike Dodds added: “We’re delighted to be working with such an exciting brand as Škoda. Its growth and award-winning product over the last few years has certainly made a mark on the car industry and we’re delighted to now be part of continuing this success. Škoda will be a fantastic addition to our growing Volkswagen Group client list and we cannot wait to get started.”

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