Regional Volvo Dealers Seek Fresh Creative for $1.5-Mil. Account

SANTA MONICA, CALIF. – The Volvo Dealers Association of Southern California has invited 12 agencies to participate in a pitch for its …… Until now, the client has used creative supplied by Volvo’s national agency Messner Vetere Berger McNamee & Schmetterer/N.Y., but it now appears the group is betting that a campaign tailored to the area could help boost sales. Western International Media/L.A., which will participate in the review, has placed local media.Robert Kramer, president of Kramer Motors, Santa Monica, Calif. and president of the Volvo Dealers Association of Southern California, confirmed that the review was taking place, but declined to identify the agencies involved or the reason for the review.The client, whose Western region offices are based in Irvine, Calif., indicated in letters to invited shops that the dealers are now looking for fresh creative assistance.The invited agencies span Orange County and the Los Angeles area.Auto industry sources said the review wasn’t a real surprise. ‘In the past, Volvo has had a special concern about the Southern California market, where Volvo sales are disproportionately weak compared to other U.S. markets,’ said one industry analyst.’The car doesn’t have sex appeal,’ said another source. ‘This isn’t a pull back the top and drive down the open road car. It feels too Midwest.’Earlier this year, Messner introduced a new campaign that tries to reposition Volvo from its former image as a reliable vehicle to a sportier, more hip brand.Sources said that the Volvo dealers expect to narrow the list to four finalists before making a decision.Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)