KB+P Lands Smart Car Work

NEW YORK The Smart USA division of Mercedes-Benz USA has hired Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners for the first marketing phase behind its Smart car, scheduled to roll out in 2006, sources said. The agency will handle a planning and strategy project for the client, said sources.

MDC Partners’ KB+P in New York won the duties on the four-wheel-drive SUV, called Smart Formore, following a review that included Omnicom Group’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas, and independent Creature in Seattle, sources said.

Sources have said that the client will likely follow up the brand-planning assignment with a review for ad duties and that it wants to have a shop in place by Jan. 1. Mercedes-Benz USA in Montvale, N.J., is a unit of DaimlerChrysler.

Launched in 1998 in Europe, the Smart line generally consists of small, sporty cars with high gas mileage. The initial Smart City-Coupe, which had only two seats, was designed by Swiss watch maker Swatch. The Formore SUV will feature “expressive design and a high utility value,” said Andreas Renschler, president of Smart gmbh in Boblingen, Germany, in a statement in January.

KB+P president Jon Bond has said the agency craved a car account. Shop representative Erin Johnson declined comment, as did agency executives.

Adweek staff report