RAC stages pitch for its financial consumer PR

The RAC is staging a pitch for its financial services consumer PR account, encompassing its insurance, loans, credit card and personal leasing services. Pitches are scheduled to take place in late April.

RAC financial and legal services PR manager Nina Arnott said medium-sized PR agencies with personal finance experience should ‘get in touch’ but added RAC is happy with incumbent Lansons Communications and ‘very much wants it to pitch’.

Arnott said it had appointed Lansons as its first PR agency for financial services a year ago but now operated in very different conditions where it was more difficult for new entrants like RAC to generate media interest.

Consumers at the moment ‘don’t really want to know about lending products’, according to Arnott, adding this was due partly to Barclays CEO Matt Barrett’s comments to the Select Committee’s inquiry into credit card charges and debt last October. Barrett said at the inquiry that he would not use his own company’s card because it was too expensive.

The RAC has received substantial coverage in the general news sections of the press, said Arnott, but needed to generate more coverage in personal finance sections and titles such as Your Money and Personal Finance and Savings.

The organisation is reviewing whether to focus its communications on key services such as the Insure Motoring Index or market its entire range, and expects the appointed agency to drive PR strategy. ‘We are reconsidering the weighting of our PR programme,’ said Arnott.

The financial services review follows the appointment of Financial Dynamics to handle the legal services PR account, understood to be worth about £100,000.

FD won a four-way pitch against Corixa Communications, Grayling and Kysen PR to become the RAC’s first agency for legal services. (PRWeek, 28 November 2003).

FD’s responsibilities include building its corporate positioning, consumer and B2B media relations and lobbying ‘to open up the market to us’, said Arnott. ‘We want to offer all kinds of legal services to all kinds of people.’

Arnott said it had found few agencies with the required experience in legal services, which she said would be a major area of growth.

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