Currently reading: Renault looks to reshape image in UK ahead of 5 launch
Brand is on a drive to introduce customers to the 'new Renault of today' as it expands EV line-up

Renault is on a drive to drastically reshape its brand image in the UK, revealing a new 'rethink' promotional campaign aimed at promoting the unique design and technical attributes of its EVs.

Launched ahead of the new Renault 5's unveiling at Geneva in February, 'Renault Rethink' is a package of promotional content - billboards, social media placements and print pages – that showcases the French brand's new ethos: "We never did ordinary, we don't do same, we do revolution."

It all ties into CEO Luca de Meo's Renaulution transformation strategy, launched in 2021 as an all-encompassing suite of measures aimed at providing the basis for Renault's future growth and expanding its EV line-up.

The featured cars are the brand's three current EVs: the 5, Scénic and Mégane

The campaign is "designed to be bold and colourful to convey Renault's confidence three years into the radical Renaulution plan" and to show off features that "reassert Renault's position as a leading player in an increasingly future-facing, tech-led market".

Renault UK marketing director David Isherwood said the new promotional material is emblematic of a "pivotal moment" for the 124-year-old marque.

"There's a milestone coming with the reveal of the Renault 5 at the Geneva motor show," he told Autocar. "So it was time really to grab some attention and get people to see the new Renault of today."

The image of 'new Renault', he explained, is bound up in the striking designs of its latest cars, the powertrains they use and the technology incorporated within. 

"There has been a huge transformation of the cars in terms of hybrid and electric and in terms of technology overall; the fact that we integrate Google into our cars – and we're one of the only brands that does that – and in terms of what we're doing in safety, connectivity and sustainability."

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The aim is not necessarily to rebuild Renault's image but rather to "really challenge everybody - whether it's the media or drivers – to rethink Renault and discover the Renault of today", he said.

Establishing a unique and memorable brand identity is particularly important for 'legacy' European manufacturers as they're faced with a wave of new rivals from China selling competitively specified cars at similar price points.

Isherwood suggested that such 'legacy' brands can lean on their long histories as a point of differentiation from these newcomers: "I think competition is a great thing and people remember what Renault is about. It's about having the brand heritage and the experience. We've been here for a long time. We've connected in a way that's very emotional with people."

In a bid to establish that 'emotional' connection, the new adverts subtly reference previous successful Renault campaigns, including the 1990s Nicole and Papa adverts for the Clio, the subsequent 'va-va-voom' catchphrase and the 'shaking that ass' song used for the Mk2 Mégane.

Isherwood acknowledged that each of these played an important role in shaping the brand's current image but said it wouldn't have been right to reinterpret any of them for the new era, as Renault is doing with some of its older cars. 

"I'm very proud of the advertising heritage that we have," he said. "When I came back to this job, one of the things that I did was watch all of those campaigns again. I think those campaigns are great. I think they're part of the brand's history. But they probably belong in their time as well."

This is partly because today's automotive marketing environment is spread across far more communication platforms than it was at the turn of the millennium: TikTok, Youtube, Instagram and even gaming platforms have evolved into crucial marketing tools, and Renault must tap into each of these in order to build a new following while preserving its existing demographics.  

"The best campaigns are campaigns that work on any platform," said Isherwood. "They're just subtly adapted to fit in. We don't want to pretend to be somebody else or change who we are."

"You don't put your TV advert on YouTube," he summarised, suggesting that while Renault will maintain the same tone and themes across various mediums, its messaging will be platform-appropriate each time.  

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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