PUBLIC RELATIONS AWARDS 2000: Craft - Best Use of Research



Complicated Lives Report

Band and Brown Communications

At the end of 1999 Abbey National became one of the targets of the unfavourable media coverage affecting many financial organisations. Stories in the media accused banks of treating customers poorly, suggesting that mutuals offered better deals than banks, and that borrowers were being penalised.

A campaign was devised to deflect this negative coverage by communicating on a wide range of issues affecting customers' lives. Drawing on the bank's strapline, 'Because Life is Complicated Enough', the agency commissioned a report examining why life is complicated from the Future Foundation think tank.

The study focused on time pressures, parenting, balancing work and home life, changing gender roles, life-stage experiences and consumerism. The study sought to underline the increasing complexity of life, and compared the present day and 50 years ago.

The report drew on data from focus groups made up of three generations of families, and a survey of 1,000 adults. It also incorporated an analysis of 100 social trends and historical data, identifying six key themes which are currently being drip-fed to the media, with stories issued at six-weekly intervals.

Up to ten major stories will be developed from the report, with the first four already generating high-profile national press, radio and television coverage. Angles included looking at how much time modern parents spend with their children compared to the previous generations; the report found that parenting time had trebled. This includes 57 national press and television articles and hundreds of regional press/radio items. The report will be made widely available after all the news hooks have been exploited, and copies have been requested from the Cabinet Office and the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Around 85 per cent of coverage achieved the objective of demonstrating that the bank understands that its customers' lives are complicated.


No Fear

Munro and Forster Communications

Community Care magazine's No Fear campaign for safety in social work was designed to promote the magazine and to help change Government policy. The agency launched the campaign with the results of a survey on the levels of violence towards social workers, and followed this up with PR activity around a national conference held by the magazine. Lobbying resulted in the Government setting up a task force on the subject.


Roc - Smoothing the path for Cellulite

The Red Consultancy

Red was asked to launch a new product from cosmetics company Roc into the cellulite treatment market, which attracts a high level of cynicism. The agency carried out a three-month research study to underpin the credibility of the product. The campaign persuaded journalists and consumers - 8,000 units a week are sold and it is Boots' bestselling body care product.


Cut it Out

No Smoking Day

The Last Straw Syndrome

Cohn and Wolfe.

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