PR Team: Bell Pottinger Public Relations
Campaign: 'New Year, New You: Financial Spring Clean', promoting direct
Timescale: January - April
BACS (Bankers Automated Clearing Services) is one of the world's largest
automated clearing houses. Set up in 1968, it is owned by the major UK
banks and building societies.
A pillar of BACS' PR strategy is to encourage consumers to use Direct
Debit for bill-paying at the start of the year.
To exploit the Direct Debit discounts and emphasise its money-saving
Strategy and Plan
Research into potential savings available to a household by switching
core bill payments to Direct Debit was undertaken by BACS' in-house
research unit. This was complemented by analysis of bills that offer a
discount for Direct Debit payment and calculation of the total annual
Media relations targeted national print and broadcast personal finance
sections, lifestyle magazines and websites. A regional campaign extended
the analysis and research to savings available by locality.
A 'radio day' at a London studio involved a Direct Debit spokesperson
and the FTyourmoney news editor discussing the findings and more ways to
save money. The resultant audio tape was sent out to radio stations.
Regional radio promotions were held in Scotland and north-west
A link-up with BT.com promoted online chats with personal finance
magazines, promoting the ease of signing up to Direct Debit online.
Measurement and Evaluation
Print coverage highlights included The Mirror, Evening Standard, The
Sunday Telegraph, Manchester Evening News and Glasgow Herald. Broadcast
coverage came on This Morning and Independent Radio News. The angle of
achieving financial savings during spring was used and extended by many
Forty-three million new Direct Debits were signed up during spring, up
7.5 per cent on the previous year's figures.