Westminster Communications has seen its lucrative contract with the
Motor Cycle Industry Association shrink following the abolition of the
body’s trade promotion wing.
Westminster ran the Motorcycle Media Bureau, formerly the Institute of
Motorcycling, for more than two decades. The account, which included
media relations, database marketing and exhibitions, was annually worth
around pounds 400,000 - with fees estimated at pounds 100,000.
The MMB closure came just two months after Honda, with more than a
quarter of the UK market, announced it was cancelling its contribution
to the bureau - around a third of the total fund - in favour of
investment in its own brand promotion.
Following Honda’s move, the body’s 10 other manufacturers and their
dealer networks, which included Harley Davidson, Suzuki and Yamaha,
opted for closure.
Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of Westminser Communications’ PR division,
Westminster Public Relations, said the agency was continuing to work for
the association, and that future activities would include providing the
association’s press office, communicating its views on key issues and
co-ordinating its Motor Show presence. He said it would also go on
advising the association on its government relations in the UK and wider
Bowden said the industry had abolished the MMB with ‘genuine regret’,
after the withdrawal of market leader Honda made a generic campaign
The bureau’s closure comes just 15 months after Westminster
Communications was reappointed to the account in a repitch attacked by
some competitors as an unfair exercise held largely to re-energise the
Geoff Sherley, Kawasaki UK company secretary and director, told PR Week
that Honda’s withdrawal from the bureau reduced total campaign funds by
around 30 per cent. He envisaged that a lower level generic campaign
would continue to be waged, using Westminster Communications, but he
thought that internal association resources and, possibly, other
agencies would also be used.