CAMPAIGNS: Product Promotion - Lifestyle choice for mortgages

Client: Alliance and Leicester

Client: Alliance and Leicester



Campaign: Homeowner 2025



PR Team: Financial Dynamics



Timescale: October 1999 - January 2000



Budget: Undisclosed





High street bank Alliance and Leicester wanted to promote its flexible

mortgage schemes at a time when the public’s attitude was one of

distrust and lack of confidence in the mortgage market. It wanted to

generate public debate rather than just promote its products.



The bank and the agency created the Homeowner 2025 consumer survey as a

way to position Alliance and Leicester as customer-focused, offering

flexible mortgages which meet the needs of changing lifestyles in

millennial Britain.





Objectives



To generate interest in, and increase sales of Alliance and Leicester

flexible mortgages. To position the Homeowner 2025 survey as an

authority on home-buying trends in the UK by creating positive press

coverage.





Strategy and Plan



During a month of planning. Financial Dynamics’ financial services

division worked closely with the client’s marketing department to

discuss the overall role that PR could play in delivering

objectives.



The Alliance and Leicester team went through Financial Dynamics’

strategy workshop programme, which enabled them to identify their

objectives, messages, suitable news issues and target media. To do this,

the participants ’road tested’ ideas they had generated against a set of

PR criteria.



The target audience was identified as a dynamic homebuyer who was likely

to change jobs frequently, take career breaks or set up a business from

their home.



The Homeowner 2025 market research was carried out by MORI and assessed

public perceptions of the future of the home, the neighbourhood and the

broader community.



The research included asking whether a flexible mortgage was desirable;

what people considered to be the house of the future; to what extent

homeowners would support their neighbourhood; and what social issues

people thought needed addressing in their community. More lighthearted

questions asked which celebrity you would most want to clean your house

and who would be perceived as the least desirable celebrity

neighbour.



The results showed that more than half of those questioned wanted

burglary stamped out, 60 per cent believed hi-tech security systems

would increase the value of their home, and that 75 per cent would take

steps to prevent their neighbours being burgled. Five times as many

borrowers were found to be opting for flexible mortgages than at the

same time in 1998.



The findings of the survey were released to the media over the course of

the campaign, gaining a balance of serious and lighthearted

coverage.



Exposure moved from the money press to the home and lifestyle sections,

positioning mortgages as a universal issue. Topical issues, such as the

use of solar power to supplement electricity usage, and the public’s

attitude towards internet shopping, were raised to increase the

campaign’s impact.



PR packs were distributed to regional branches of Alliance and Leicester

so that they could inform local media.





Measurement and Evaluation



The campaign attracted 311 pieces of positive news coverage across both

print and broadcast media, reaching an estimated audience of 20 million

people. BBC News and all of the national newspapers focused on the

survey results.





Results



This could have been a dry and boring financial services campaign, but

Financial Dynamcs did well in generating a ’lifestyle’ bias in the

press. As well as promoting the bank’s mortgage services the campaign

also managed to create a more consumer friendly brand.



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