A Long-Maligned Auto Brand Has a Message for Those Who Still Hesitate to Buy It

Škoda ad addresses the outdated stigma of poor quality

People with no time to hesitate are rather annoyed with the dithering of Skoda shoppers. - Credit by Skoda France
Headshot of Doug Zanger

Pity poor Škoda. For years, the Czech car brand has been dogged by perception issues. Likely the best analogy for folks here in the U.S. would be Kia back in the day—poor design, questionable engineering, the comfort of a wooden fold-up chair.

Like Kia, Škoda (owned by VW) has steadily upped its quality and is no longer the butt of jokes. Yet Paris-based agency Rosapark, Adweek’s International Agency of the Year, continues to put the elephant (and sometimes, a very large dog) into the room with quirky ads meant to give consumers a “yeah, we know it, too” wink.

Last year’s “Ugly in the 90s” ad was chock full of self-deprecation. Today, the agency and brand are taking a similar approach with the idea that, even though people might want to buy that new Skoda, there is still a pause before saying yes.

As a customer named Etienne struggles with making a decision, the ad cuts to several (odd) scenarios—like a cop diffusing a bomb, a U.S. president stopping short of hitting a red button to start World War III and Joan of Arc—that implores him to make a decision. While the references are somewhat aggressive (natives deciding whether to join city culture may raise some eyebrows), the creative approach is very much par for the course in articulating the brand insight.

“With this campaign, we’ve made a bold choice to illustrate the position in which a large number of French people are now finding themselves concerning the brand: they hesitate,” said Sacha Lacroix, Rosapark’s managing director. “They’re convinced by the model, yet they hesitate to take the plunge, hindered by entourage’s preconceptions and the brand’s past.”

An almost 50% rise in new registrations since last year doesn’t lie…yet here we are with an ad that hopes, once again, to break the long-standing Skoda stigma.


Brand: Škoda France
Paul Barrocas: Marketing Director
Marie-Charlotte Bosvieux: Communications Manager
Céline Hahn: Advertising and Media Manager
Stéphanie Cantau: Digital and Social Manager

Co-founders: Jean-Patrick Chiquiar, Gilles Fichteberg and Jean-François Sacco
Copywriter: Julien Perrard
AD: Nicolas Hurez
General Director: Sacha Lacroix
Advising Director: Romain Bruneau
Account Director: Maxime Persuy
Account Manager: Audrey Martineau
TV production: Élodie Jonquille
Digital Strategy Director: Jeanne Neuschwander
Social Media Manager: Thomas Vincenti
Social Media Copywriter: Julien Thibon
Social Media AD: Léo Palti

Production: Henry
Director: Bart Timmer
Producer: Jean-Luc Bergeron
Chief Operator: Daniel Landin
Chief Decorator: David Bersanetti
Production Director: Yannick Dupas
Soundtrack: Schmooze
Post Production: Mc Murphy
Sound Studio: Schmooze

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@zanger doug.zanger@adweek.com Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.