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KBS+P Preps Push for Diesel Cars

Campaign to break later this month

Ed Brojerdi, KBS+P president and co-chief creative officer

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Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners is branding diesel.

In late June, the New York shop will begin to roll out a national campaign that will position diesel-fueled cars as efficient and powerful. The effort will include a new website, logo and a tagline that will appear in ads for individual German auto brands, according to agency president Ed Brojerdi.

The push is the first of its kind in the U.S., where light diesel vehicles represented less than 3 percent of all sales last year. That’s tiny compared to Europe, where 55 percent of all cars sold last year were diesels. KBS+P is working on behalf of the VDA, the German automakers’ manufacturing association, which hired the agency in March.

The campaign will target new car buyers, particularly those who are comfortable stepping outside of norms, said Brojerdi, who is co-chief creative officer, along with Izzy DeBellis. “People are looking at hybrids and electrics and diesel is [another] alternative,” he said.

Three agencies that work on German car brands in the U.S. competed for the assignment, said Dirk Evenson, the association’s head of communications. KBS+P is BMW's lead creative agency domestically. Evenson declined to name the other two shops. Account revenue is estimated at $1 million.

VDA president Matthias Wissmann first signaled the diesel campaign in January, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. At the time, Wissmann said that each manufacturer would create its own ads but that they would incorporate common messages about “how efficient and economical” diesel engines are. 

While German automakers dominate diesel car sales domestically, U.S. and Asian car companies also are entering the fray. General Motors, for example, is developing a diesel version of its Chevrolet Cruz compact sedan. So, ironically a campaign backed by German automakers may help GM.