Skoda, the Czech car company, is to bring its PR in-house signalling the
end of its two-year estimated pounds 400,000-budget contract with
Countrywide Porter Novelli.
The decision to end the contract at Christmas has left Countrywide free
to take on a contract from Renault to launch its new car, the Megane
Countrywide won the business after taking part in a four-way pitch. Its
brief is to target 25 to 45-year-old men and women via the lifestyle
media and regional press.
Renault is hoping that the Scenic, which launches in February, will be
the second best seller in its Megane range.
Skoda public relations manager Eilish O’Shea, who has been managing the
motoring media, said the decision to move its PR in-house was
unconnected to Countrywide’s Renault win.
The agency was appointed by Skoda in March last year as part of a huge
marketing effort to rid the car of its low-status image.
It won a PRCA award this year for the campaign, which involved getting
coverage on media as diverse as Blind Date, The Big Breakfast and BBC
‘We have achieved a tremendous change in public perception through both
the consumer and motoring press, but 1997 is going to be a year of
consolidation for the brand,’ said O’Shea on the end of its relationship
‘We will focus on the product but broaden it to include consumer press
when appropriate,’ she said.
‘It takes many years to change a brand’s image,’ she commented on
Skoda’s reputation, ‘but we are firmly on the way.’
The much derided car firm has an in-house team of four communications
Eilish said that from January the communications division may use
agencies on a project basis for additional consumer help but is more
likely to employ temporary freelance staff.