Holden drives creative pitch down to four

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 30 June 2017

Holden has drawn up a shortlist of four creative agencies vying for the creative business for its new Holden SUV model, Equinox, AdNews can reveal.

The list includes The Monkeys, Thinkerbell, incumbent AJF Partnership and Publicis Worldwide. AdNews understands the pitch could involve other Holden models.

AJF has been working with Holden since 2007 when it was brought on to handle the Holden retail advertising account. In 2013, it expanded its remit on the automotive brand, edging out McCann for the lion share of the account.

AdNews understands McCann was involved in the initial stages of the pitch. It has a global relationship with General Motors – the owner of Holden.

For The Monkeys, the Melbourne-based auto brand would offer another strong brand to its plans to launch a Melbourne agency following its acquisition by Accenture Interactive. It is currently understood to be in advanced stages of a creative pitch for Melbourne-based Australia Post.

It would be one of the first clients for Thinkerbell since it officially launched at the beginning of this month, founded by Adam Ferrier, Ben Couzens and Jim Ingram.

AJF Partnership has been behind significant work for Holden. Last year, it rolled out a campaign to tackle poor perceptions of the brand and drive sales. It also redesigned its logo and launched five new cars in the market.

Holden has confirmed the pitch process is underway.

Holden executive director of marketing Mark Harland told AdNews earlier this year the brand is undergoing a ‘year of transition’ as it aims to break category stereotypes and integrate more technology.

“From tackling road rage to helping create a more inclusive Australia, we’re taking a stand where it counts. You’ll also see us caring for customers well beyond the car – creating world-class dealership experiences and next-level customer service. We’re redefining what it means to be a Holden driver. We’re running pilot programs for ride-sharing technology and looking at ways to completely rejuvenate the retail and car buying experience," he said.

In 2015, Holden posted its lowest sales in 23 years. With women influencing up to 70% of all car purchases, it is hoping to lure more females into dealerships and shift away from its "boys club" brand perception.

Harland will lift the lid on the car manufacturer's plans for the next 12 months and beyond at the AdNews Media + Marketing Summit Melbourne on 2 August.

Early bird tickets available here.

All agencies mentioned declined to comment.

Updated 330pm: This article originally said incorrectly the pitch list was down to three including McCann

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