CAMPAIGNS: RBS Rich List stirs interest among youth - Corporate PR

Client: Royal Bank of Scotland PR Team: Weber Shandwick Campaign: Rich List 2020 Timescale: July-September 2003 Budget: undisclosed

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) wanted to make young people and their parents more aware of the products and services it provides to young customers, and to promote its financial education initiatives. The campaign had to engage young people by presenting money issues in an entertaining way, without patronising the target audience.

Objectives

To position RBS as an authority on youth and finance issues. To make money interesting to young people and educate them about good money management.

To position the bank as a responsible partner in helping young people fulfil their potential.

Strategy and Plan

In order to appeal to a young audience, Weber Shandwick commissioned the author of The Sunday Times Rich List, Philip Beresford, to create a list of promising young people who had the right combination of talent, determination and financial acumen to become multi-millionaires by 2020.

The 20 people on the list - who were all aged between 13 and 20 - included celebrities such as footballer Wayne Rooney, but also relative unknowns, such as singer Amy Studt and the list's number one figure, internet entrepreneur Carl Churchill.

Beresford then estimated how much each person could be worth by 2020, and compared their incomes with those of present-day stars, such as Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Owen.

The message that needed to come across through the biographies of each individual was that, with the right financial knowledge, these young people could be as successful as some of the biggest names in the world today.

Beresford was briefed to include young people from across the UK, in a bid to prompt regional coverage for the bank. They were selected from a wide range of industries and sports - from BMX riding and skateboarding to the film industry - to give the story strong appeal to specialist and youth titles, as well as the consumer media.

WS and the bank's in-house press team then created a media package that included biographies and colour photos of the 20 people on the list, and arranged for several of them to be available for interview, along with Beresford and RBS spokespeople.

National and regional print, broadcast and online media were approached nearer to the launch date, which coincided with back-to-school week, while media outlets with long lead times were approached well ahead of the office launch date.

Measurement and Evaluation

Coverage included stories in The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Express, The Sun, The Independent, Metro, The Guardian, The Scotsman, More! and Maxim.

Broadcast coverage appeared on BBC TV, five lunchtime news, Channel 4, ITV, Sky News, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, ITV Scotland and several online news media, including BBC Online and Guardian Unlimited.

There was also coverage on a number of commercial radio stations through IRN, and on Popworld Online and Megastar.co.uk. The story was also picked up by The Washington Times.

Results

There were more than 3,000 hits on RBS's youth microsite in the week coinciding with the launch of the Rich List 2020, which was in line with expectations for the campaign. Since then the number of visitors to the site has been about ten per cent higher than before the campaign.

In fact, the Rich List microsite received almost as many hits on the launch day alone as the bank's main web page receives in an average month.

Visitors could click through from the Rich List to find out more about the bank's services.

About one quarter of all stories on the Rich List 2020 included a quote from a Royal Bank of Scotland spokesperson, and just under half included the bank's key message: that sound money management is essential to sustained success.

An exclusive deal was negotiated with CosmoGirl!, featuring an interview with Churchill, who gave readers tips on good money management and how they could set up their own businesses. Associate editor Miranda Eason said the magazine mentioned RBS prominently in the story, and the coverage included the full Rich List 2020.

'It was a great way of making young people think about their careers and cash future,' she said. 'This fits in with the magazine's own mission statement of encouraging our readers to be the best they can be.'

The Times social affairs correspondent Alexandra Frean said the timing of the campaign - on a weekend, when news can be slow - and the interesting way in which the story was pitched helped to make it attractive.

'It was embargoed for a Monday morning,' she said. 'We're always looking for good narrative stories for a Monday.

'With this story, we could see there would be lots of strong individual stories and lots of opportunities for pictures. The PR team packaged it very well, so we could immediately see from the press release that we could do a big number on it.'

RBS said it was too soon to tell what effect the campaign was having on the number of young people either inquiring about its youth-oriented services or signing up as customers, but Weber Shandwick is to continue working on further projects involving youth and finance for RBS.

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