CAMPAIGNS: Media Relations - Ogilvy helps boost profile of More Th>n

Client: More Th>n
PR Team: Ogilvy PR Worldwide
Campaign: Pet Bereavement
Timescale: May - June
Budget: Undisclosed

More Th>n, the direct insurance arm of Royal & SunAlliance set up last year, has more than 12 per cent of the £160m-a-year pet insurance market.

One in ten claims on its pet insurance policies are related to an animal's death. In May, to coincide with National Pet Week (4-12 May), the insurer launched a pet bereavement and serious illness counselling service to support customers facing a loss.

At no extra cost to customers, More Th>n added a 24-hour hotline, staffed by 26 counsellors, to its standard pet insurance, giving pet owners and their families a counselling service when coping with the loss of a pet.

To gain a competitive edge and complement its above-the-line activities, the firm hired Ogilvy PR Worldwide to promote its new offering to consumers.

Objectives

To raise awareness of the pet bereavement counselling service and encourage people to access further information about More Th>n 's pet insurance products via its website or by phone.

Strategy and Plan

The main thrust of the campaign focused on media relations. An exclusive story about the grief counselling package was sold in to The Daily Telegraph associate City editor Andrew Cave, who wrote a piece that ran on 3 May, the day before launch.

This set the ball rolling for further media interest, with More Th>n pet product manager Paul Davis, the insurer's consumer affairs spokesperson Linda McCormack, and celebrity vet Baibre O'Malley, star of BBC 1's Animal Hospital, providing comment and live interviews.

The PR team arranged one-on-one lunches with journalists, which were followed by press releases for the national, regional and trade press.

Measurement and Evaluation

National coverage of the story ranged from The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror to Radio 4's Today programme and BBC2's Working Lunch.

These outlets discussed the traumas of losing a much-loved pet and outlined some of the existing benefits of More Th>n 's pet products, including its acupuncture and herbal remedies cover and offer of up to £500 towards advertising the disappearance of, and a reward for finding, a missing pet.

There was also interest from online channels, such as Ananova, and the regional media, including the Brighton Argus, Glasgow's Sunday Mail and BBC Radio Newcastle, Suffolk and Cambridge.

Unsurprisingly, the story was a big hit with the specialist press, featuring in Your Dog, Cat World and ukpets.co.uk.

Results

More Th>n has no facility to isolate its internet or phone enquiries traffic by product type, so cannot formally identify how this campaign has driven interest in its pet insurance.

However, year-on-year sales have increased, with 20,000 customers taking out pet policies in 2002 to June, compared to the 17,000 pet products sold in the whole of 2001.

To date, eight people have used the bereavement counselling service.

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