Renault Clio Driving Test mailer

It has been a tough year for carmakers, and the people charged with selling them. Toughening economic times, massive product recalls, end of the scrappage scheme, etc, etc – there are many reasons to have had a bad year.
But after judging a recent awards competition’s automotive category I was left with the feeling that sometimes the carmakers don’t make it any easier for themselves to sell cars, either.
I say that because there’s still a lot of work out there that sticks to the formula of sleek, smart (smugly flattering) copy lines married to sleek, smart (over retouched) pics of the cars. All bang on brand strategy I’m sure, but that mailer from “Uber-autobrand A” looked, felt and sounded like the ones from “Uber-autobrands B, C & D”.
Frankly, I was hard pushed to spot the difference between them and was left with a feeling that I couldn’t care less. So it was refreshing to see a couple of campaigns that tackled the task of selling cars by taking a different tack.
One was a campaign by Publicis that demonstrates to driving instructors that the New Renault Clio is the car to choose when they replace their current tuition vehicle. OK, comparing a Renault Clio dual control car to any of the above brand’s lifestyle motors might be comparing apples with oranges, but what stood out for me was the thinking and the absence of complacency.
Instructors across the country received a clipboard holding what appeared to be a completed Driving Test Report form. Upon closer inspection the subject of the personalised form is revealed to be the Clio. Each section lists features desirable in a tuition car, and each receives a tick in the “pass” box. The only fail comes alongside the initial price, which is rectified with a subsequent discount and a new, lower price, both of which receive a passing mark.
Top marks all round from me for relevance, a bit of wit, some clever thinking and targeting.

Neil Francis is creative partner at Stephens Francis Whitson (part of the VCCP Partnership)

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