Campaigns: Promotional Scheme - Clubbing to curb car ownership

Client: Avis

Client: Avis

Campaign: England’s first car-club

PR Team: Consolidated Communications

Timescale: September 1998 - May 2000

Budget: Undisclosed

The Government issued a transport White Paper in July 1998 that

advocated the need for greater partnership between the private and

public sector in tackling growing congestion on UK roads. Edinburgh was

the first city in the UK to introduce a commercial ’car club’ scheme,

which is operated by rental firm Budget.

Avis decided that they wanted to be the first car-hire company to

establish a similar scheme in England. The idea is that it reduces the

need for second-car ownership. This applies in the case where a family

has a principal car and a second vehicle that they use to do the

school-run, the weekly food-shop etc. The scheme enables non-car owners

to use a vehicle and promotes more responsible car-usage by providing

convenient and cost-effective short-term hire. It is a potentially

useful tool to help local authorities with parking problems and is also

more environmentally friendly.


To launch England’s first car-club, CARvenience. To position Avis at the

forefront of a new development that will open up a new stream of revenue

for the future.

Strategy and Plan

It was vital to find a sympathetic local authority that was prepared to

promote and actively support community transport-based initiatives.

Once the development of a car-club scheme had been accepted at a local

authority, planning and development level both parties would have to

work hand-in-hand to raise local awareness of the scheme and its


Oxford City Council has a strong reputation for innovative transport

projects. It has always had to plan for the pressure placed on a city

that has a medieval town-centre and major traffic ’bottlenecks’.

Previous initiatives the council has introduced have been the Park and

Ride scheme and the 24-hour Oxford to London bus services, the Oxford

Tube and Citylink.

Avis approached Oxford City Council and worked closely with officers and

councillors to determine the feasibility of a car-club. The idea was met

with support from the council and an extensive liaison with the council

was conducted to co-ordinate the launch.

The proposal for the scheme was put forward to a meeting of Oxford City

Council in October 1999. Councillors announced their agreement to the

scheme later in the month.

On the 18 May this year the car club was officially launched. The event

was attended by the media and a press photocall was held. The picture

angle was to photograph the first car club member at one of the


Measurement and Evaluation

About 70 people from across the UK - including the media, town planners,

council representatives - attended the launch. There was significant

attendance and local press coverage of the scheme locally.

Media coverage included Central TV, the Oxford Channel (cable TV), the

Oxford Mail and the Oxford Courier, as well as pre-coverage in the

Evening Standard.


The CARvenience scheme was a success in convincing Oxford City Council

of the feasibility of a car-club. Every party has benefited: Avis by

being able to launch England’s first car club scheme; Oxford City

Council has promoted an innovative scheme which brings transport and

environmental benefits to its citizens and the people of Oxford.

The car club currently has a fleet of six cars and more will be

introduced as demand increases. Avis’ project manager, Nigel White says

the car club is on track to have around 150 members over the next year.

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