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Going for young billionaires: Rolls Royce appoints new US agency

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

October 12, 2011 | 4 min read

Forget all your usual ad strategies. Think of a sales meeting as taking couples out in a fleet of Rolls Royces to a swanky restaurant - and the sales spiel as like getting someone to commission a work of art

A Rolls Royce Phantom

It must be the new wave of online entrepreneurs, getting ready to spend their billions - but Rolls Royce cars have appointed a new agency in the US " to ride the momentum and appeal to a more youthful market"The company , now owned by BMW, has appointed Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners as its first agency of record for marketing communications in North America. Previously, they had used "different agencies piece-meal for different projects," said Oleg Satanovsky, corporate communications manager for Rolls Royce in North America. Rolls-Royce isn't exactly going for the mass market. They sold just 2,711 cars worldwide last year -- their best ever. There are only 82 dealerships on the planet, including 32 in the U.S., three in Canada and one in Mexico. Prices range from $180,000 to $500,000So don't look for traditional print or television advertising - or even traditional mail shots. Steve Thibodeau, chief digital officer at KBS&P told AdAge.com. "Their target audience is so exclusive, it's almost mind-boggling how difficult it is to reach this audience and the lifestyle they lead. "Some of it is old money, some is new money, some is inherited money. Some are rappers, some are tech people, some are athletes. The way they shop for a car is like shopping for a work of art. It's like cultivating a collection."Direct mail? Mr. Thibodeau said, "It won't be with a postcard or a No. 10 envelope. It will be more like hand-made artifacts; give somebody something of value, something that makes them want to pick up the phone and make an appointment with a dealer."Thomas Roach, sales manager for RR in Greenwich, Connecticut gave this outline of a sales spiel, "We'll do a luncheon, for example, for 12 couples that are prospective buyers. We'll use a fleet of Rolls-Royces and we'll all drive somewhere to a very nice place. Rolls-Royce would rather do that than have an open luncheon for 300 people where maybe you get two, three prospective buyers."Thibodeau said KBS&P will also be heavily involved in event marketing. In the past, they've been at tony Pebble Beach, California and the Kentucky Derby. But local events are the bread and butter of the dealerships.Satanovsky said "These are very relationship-based sales, and from a marketing standpoint it's very event-driven," said "We were looking for a new agency to go with a new vision for Rolls-Royce. Ever since we started marketing cars here again in 2003, it's been viewed as a very traditional company. We want to try to go forward with a more dynamic marketing programme to coincide with our new cars."He said global Rolls-Royce sales were up 60% in the first nine months of the year compared to 2010. "We're a small manufacturer. It takes 22 days to build a Ghost, up to 22 days to build a Phantom because they're hand-made. With our Rolls-Royce Bespoke program, it can take three to six months to customize a car. Ordering a Rolls-Royce is really like commissioning a piece of art."

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