NEWS: Motorcycle body scales down PR

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 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

Europe.



Bowden said the industry had abolished the MMB with ‘genuine regret’,

after the withdrawal of market leader Honda made a generic campaign

untenable.



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

incumbent.



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.



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