Campaign: Halifax helps children fill their piggybanks - Consumer

Campaign: Saving for a Child's future Client: Halifax PR team: In-house Timescales: April/May (pre-launch activity); 8 June (media launch day); 13 June (product launch in-branch) Budget: £3,500

This year, children's charity Tommy's voted Halifax the 'most parent-friendly bank' for the second year running. To capitalise on this, and amid reports that a large proportion of the population was not saving money, the bank wanted to inform parents of the importance of saving for their child's future.

Objectives

To raise the profile of children's savings accounts - specifically, the new Halifax Children's Regular Saver. To build on Halifax's position as 'the UK's leading savings provider' for child-friendly accounts and services.

Strategy and Plan

The campaign was planned to culminate in the launch of the Halifax Children's Regular Saver account, but prior to this the main aim was to steer the media debate away from adults not saving for themselves, and towards the fact that children need to save, too. This meant grabbing the attention of adults in a position to save for a child - be they parents, grandparents, godparents, aunts or uncles, and even friends of the family.

In April, Halifax focused press releases on children's pocket money, with research on the amount children receive and how much of this money is subsequently saved.

In the run-up to the June launch, savings experts from the Halifax press office arranged one-to-one briefings with selected national journalists to discuss the new product. Arrangements were then made for the media to talk to six case studies - families that were just beginning to start to save for their children. Additional market research was also commissioned to further explore the topic of children's savings accounts.

Measurement and Evaluation

For the first three days after launch, Metrica evaluation showed that more than 50 pieces of coverage were generated across national and regional press and broadcast media for Halifax Children's Regular Saver. The coverage was also overwhelmingly positive. The Daily Express led with the headline 'Halifax deal heads kids' savings league', while the Daily Mirror ran with 'Tot up big savings'. In Press & Journal, the headline read 'Youngsters get incentive to save up'.

Metrica estimates that 64 per cent of UK adults (30 million) were reached by the campaign. In total, more than 76.5 million opportunities to see were generated, with an estimated advertising value equivalent of more than £500,000.

Results

On the first day of the product going live, 2,500 Halifax Children's Regular Saver accounts were opened, beating expectations. Within two weeks, more than 30,000 had been opened, with an average of £70 per month being saved. To date more than 100,000 accounts have been set up.

Independent industry experts echoed journalists' positive approach, with moneysupermarket.com's Stuart Glendinning observing: 'The positioning of the account was so good that those individuals without children might be lamenting the fact. Whether to invest in this account was a no-brainer and made a good story great.'

SECOND OPINION

Laura Wood, co-founder of Golden Goose PR, has previously worked on the launch of Maestro This was a well-executed media relations campaign that captured the attention of the personal finance writers. The concept was a great one: to steer financial news away from negative stories of adults' inability to save, and towards the fact that Halifax can help children get on to the right track with their own pocket money.

The pocket money survey was a newsworthy way to launch a product without gimmicks.

The success is visible in the business results, but it would be interesting to see whether Halifax always came out on top whenever the press compared Halifax's kids' offering with those offered by its competitors.

As well as working brilliantly at a product level, this campaign could have worked at a brand level by being tied in with the Howard The Halifax Man campaign. A bit of creativity to work alongside this hardworking media campaign might have extended the story beyond the personal finance pages.

For example, to echo the trend of 'Little Ant and Dec', a 'Little Howard' could have been auditioned for and filmed/photographed talking about his savings.

On a slow news day, this could have made the main news pages. At worst, it would have provided a great picture for the money pages and linked the initiative back to the brand ads.

Creativity: 2 Delivery: 4 6/10

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