Despite a marketing revamp, the brand has been hit by a fall in new car sales, writes Alex Brownsell.
For a long time, Renault's marketing was overshadowed by its former glory. When compared with its famous ads, such as 'Papa and Nicole', the French manufacturer seemed stuck in a post-Thierry Henry creative rut.
The appointment of Phil York as UK marketing director in mid-2009 hinted at a fresh approach. Speaking to Marketing after he started, York said he would aim to reinstate the 'joie de vivre (Renault was) associated with'.
Its advertising has become more creative. The 'Megane experiment', pitching a French actor against the population of Lancashire village Gisburn, won plaudits.
The return of its classic Clio 'va va voom' line, backed by celebrities including Henry, Rihanna and Dita Von Teese, also caused a stir. Yet Renault has been hit by a near-32% year-on-year fall in new vehicle sales so far in 2011, according to the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders' (SMMT), and its UK market share has tumbled from 4.7% this time last year to less than 3.5%. Can advertising with some 'va va voom' rescue Renault's bottom line?
We asked Chris Hirst, chief executive of Grey London, which has worked with Honda, and Andy Sandoz, creative partner at digital agency Work Club, which works with McLaren.
NEW CAR REGISTRATIONS 2011 2011 % market % change Marque registrations share yr/yr in registrations 1 Ford 171,278 14.03 -6.93 2 Vauxhall 150,641 12.34 -3.67 3 Volkswagen 114,209 9.36 0.62 4 Audi 73,736 6.04 11.98 5 BMW 72,543 5.94 14.46 6 Peugeot 60,998 5.00 -14.00 7 Nissan 58,611 4.80 5.78 8 Mercedes-Benz 49,789 4.08 11.15 9 Toyota 45,099 3.69 -21.31 10 Citroen 43,429 3.56 -6.33 11 Renault 42,096 3.45 -31.62 Source: Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders
CHRIS HIRST, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, GREY LONDON
Renault has always struck me as one of the more interesting car manufacturers. It is prepared to take risks with its product range and is one of those French companies that seem like a projection of the Republic.
Its marketing, however, has been less engaging, with the notable exception of 'Papa and Nicole', and possibly the extraordinary execution about people wiggling their bums.
More recently Renault seems to have made a determined effort to do better, led for a while by my old Skoda client, Chris Hawken.
The Megane campaign was bold …