CAMPAIGNS: Financial PR - Bell Pottinger gives Direct Debit a boost

Client: BACS

PR Team: Bell Pottinger Public Relations

Campaign: 'New Year, New You: Financial Spring Clean', promoting direct

debit

Timescale: January - April

Budget: £60,000



BACS (Bankers Automated Clearing Services) is one of the world's largest

automated clearing houses. Set up in 1968, it is owned by the major UK

banks and building societies.



A pillar of BACS' PR strategy is to encourage consumers to use Direct

Debit for bill-paying at the start of the year.



Objective



To exploit the Direct Debit discounts and emphasise its money-saving

advantages.



Strategy and Plan



Research into potential savings available to a household by switching

core bill payments to Direct Debit was undertaken by BACS' in-house

research unit. This was complemented by analysis of bills that offer a

discount for Direct Debit payment and calculation of the total annual

average saving.



Media relations targeted national print and broadcast personal finance

sections, lifestyle magazines and websites. A regional campaign extended

the analysis and research to savings available by locality.



A 'radio day' at a London studio involved a Direct Debit spokesperson

and the FTyourmoney news editor discussing the findings and more ways to

save money. The resultant audio tape was sent out to radio stations.



Regional radio promotions were held in Scotland and north-west

England.



A link-up with BT.com promoted online chats with personal finance

magazines, promoting the ease of signing up to Direct Debit online.



Measurement and Evaluation



Print coverage highlights included The Mirror, Evening Standard, The

Sunday Telegraph, Manchester Evening News and Glasgow Herald. Broadcast

coverage came on This Morning and Independent Radio News. The angle of

achieving financial savings during spring was used and extended by many

papers.



Results



Forty-three million new Direct Debits were signed up during spring, up

7.5 per cent on the previous year's figures.



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