Cohn & Wolfe lands World Rally Championship remit

Cohn & Wolfe is to carry out a campaign aimed at giving the World Rally Championship a sexier image in the UK.

International Sportsworld Communicators (ISC), the holders of the TV and commercial rights for the WRC, awarded C&W the six-figure account following a four-way pitch featuring Weber Shandwick, Consolidated Communications and Praxis PR.

The agency is briefed to draw up a media campaign to raise brand awareness of the World Rallying Championship in the UK, 'almost from scratch,' according to Sharon Walker, PR manager for ISC.

ISC acquired rights to the WRC from Bernie Ecclestone 18 months ago and plans to turn its investment into a major sport rather than, in Walker's words, 'something associated with muddy forests in Wales once a year'.

She said IRC would be carrying out a communications study over the next year with a view to forming a communications strategy for the rest of Europe. Once that is complete she said the company would probably hold further pitches for European business.

'We regard PR as possibly the most critical strand of marketing and we will always rely on outside agencies,' she added.

C&W is also tasked with exploiting the WRC in consumer media including Channel 4 and Rally XS magazine.

Meanwhile the agency will work with WRC partners including global sponsorship partner Inmarsat, and liaise with the seven manufacturing teams competing for the Championship.

In January - as part of a PR push by the WRC and the major rally teams - Ford Rallye Sport took on Freud Communications for substantial six-figure fees to raise the profile of the brand and sport outside the specialist press (PRWeek, 25 January).

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