Working with Zipcar since 2013 to drive London’s car club strategy & improve air quality
On 1st January 2022, we celebrated the start of our 10th year working with Zipcar, the pioneering car sharing network known for putting car clubs on the map in London (and the world).
This is a client close to my heart as I led the original pitch in 2012. Winning the account was a turning point for PRN; it’s a brand that any agency would love the chance to work with. While 10 years ago an agency with a remote team and no office was too much for some, the management team loved the fact that we were doing something different and disruptive.
The length of our tenure as Zipcar’s strategic communications partner makes me very proud. Our senior client services director Eileen has directed the account since 2013. She has been involved in a huge amount of change during the last nine years, working with several brilliant GMs during this time and helping build the brand into a household name.
On 1st January 2013, Zipcar and PRN embarked on a plan to raise awareness of the concept of car sharing as part of the burgeoning sharing economy. Car sharing was well-established in the US, but was perceived as an unusual method of transport in the UK. Our brief was to promote the cost savings and environmental benefits, initially to Londoners. Over the next few years our remit expanded to include support for launches - from Belgium to Taiwan.
While we were initially hired to provide PR support to drive consumer awareness and uptake of the service, it became quickly apparent that there was little point having more customers without enough car club bays across London. Zipcar expanded PRN’s remit to include public affairs support. In 2014 we were engaged to lobby central and local authorities, promoting the many benefits to Londoners from moving away from car ownership to a car sharing model, and positioning car sharing as a key element of TfL’s transport strategy.
We handed the PR wheel to Manifest in 2020, and they’ve done some brilliant work - particularly considering travel was banned during parts of the pandemic. We continue to handle the PA brief, directed by our senior associate Kate Hinton who can be credited with some incredible achievements for Zipcar since 2014.
James Taylor, General Manager at Zipcar UK commented: 'PRN has provided fantastic support to Zipcar over the past 9 years, and as we enter our 10th year of working together I’m excited about the plans we have in place. Since I started at Zipcar just over 2 years ago, Kate has been a constant support, helping to engage with local authorities and stakeholders to promote the benefits of car sharing and help even more car owners to ditch the private car and switch to sharing.’
2013: Launched ‘Zipstars’ - an influencer programme using celebrity entrepreneurs including HelloFresh founder Patrick Drake and luxury shoe designer Aruna Seth.
2014: Organised Car Lite London, the capital’s first ever major event on car clubs at City Hall, involving the Deputy Mayor for Transport and the Transport Minister. The event placed car clubs on the political map in London, and led to the 2015 launch of the car club strategy for London.
2016: Launch of 50 hybrid vehicles with Westminster City Council. PRN organised the launch event, which included key political stakeholders.
2018: Devised the Vision 2025 concept of an all-electric car sharing fleet for London, led by Zipcar. We organised a multi-stakeholder launch event to promote the launch of Zipcar’s electric vehicle fleet, Flex EV, which was published in London’s Evening Standard newspaper and generated significant stakeholder engagement and political credit for Zipcar.
2019: Negotiated Zipcar’s involvement in the ULEZ (ultra low emissions zone) event which led to Zipcar meeting the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. We also created an initiative for Zipcar to match fund the Mayor’s car scrappage scheme, demonstrating commitment to the environment.
2019: Launch of Zipcar’s first shared EV van, working closely with Lambeth Council and the Cross River Partnership to make this happen and support Zipcar for Business.
2021: Supported Zipcar’s involvement with the launch of the Mayor’s extended ULEZ event, which led to another meeting with the Mayor, and working very closely with the Mayor’s team and TfL to position Zipcar as the leading car club provider for London.
2021: Created a five-point action plan for London’s EV infrastructure, and lobbied London’s Assembly members to support the expansion of car clubs. Members used the plan as a clear call to action to impress the Mayor to increase car clubs as part of London’s transport strategy.
2021: Worked with Tower Hamlets Council to persuade them to host an event to launch a car made of plants and flowers, to encourage Londoners to make more sustainable travel choices.
2021: Co-authored Zipcar’s first UK Impact Report, launched and disseminated to key stakeholders. Used the report to promote the news of a significant growth in Zipcar’s EV fleet.
Where are we now?
Zipcar now has the largest EV fleet in the UK, and is on track to have a fully electric fleet by 2025. It’s great to be part of something which is helping to improve air quality in London.
Thanks to all the Zipcar team, past and present, for bringing us along for the ride.