CAMPAIGNS: Road safety link-up boon at Green Flag - Sponsorship PR

Green Flag is the third largest motoring organisation in the UK, providing breakdown assistance, motor insurance and other vehicle-related services.

Last year, to boost awareness of its motoring assistance brand, Green Flag decided to sponsor Road Safety Week, an initiative driven by the charity Brake, which campaigns to prevent accidents.

Managed in-house, Green Flag felt the PR around its sponsorship would provide its four million members with an alternative voice to the RAC and AA on road safety issues.

Objectives

To maximise its sponsorship of Road Safety Week, to associate the Green Flag brand with road safety, particularly as a media authority, and position the organisation as socially responsible.

Strategy and Plan

In October 2000, Green Flag commissioned research on road safety in association with Brake. This involved 1,097 interviews and four focus groups with social drivers, company car drivers, motorcyclists, and young drivers.

The research examined attitudes to drink and drug-driving, speeding, in-car mobile-phone usage and vehicle maintenance.

The findings were then published in the 'Green Flag Report on Safer Driving', for the launch of Road Safety Week.

Unveiled to the media on 30 March at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders building in London, the report was endorsed by motoring authorities and the relatives of road accident victims.

To provide additional media interest, the PR team issued a series of press releases, highlighting research findings. These included the risks taken by high mileage and young drivers, and the difference in attitudes to safe motoring between the sexes.

Some families who had suffered the trauma of a fatality on the roads agreed to tell their stories to the media.

Measurement and Evaluation

The launch event was attended by 30 journalists, including the Press Association, which distributed visuals to UK newsrooms.

Radio 4's Today programme, Radio 1, Channel 5 News and Sky News ran interviews with spokespeople, while the report featured in the national and regional press.

Top Gear magazine and Auto Express commented on the campaign in their leader columns, and women's media, including Cosmopolitan and Ignition, also ran stories.

Results

In July 2000, Green Flag's ongoing brand tracking research showed just one per cent of respondents associated any breakdown insurance company with road safety.

By May 2001, this had changed to 30 per cent of respondents linking Green Flag with the issue.

Around three-quarters of all Road Safety Week media coverage made reference to Green Flag's sponsorship and report, while the number of enquiries to the PR department for comment on road safety issues rose by more than 20 per cent from April to June 2001.

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