PRWeek UK Corporate, City & Public Affairs Awards winners: Best Crisis Communications

The winner in this category is ‘Helping Amigo Loans survive’ by Lansons for Amigo Loans.

Amigo Loans, a controversial lender notorious for charging high rates of interest, was close to collapse in 2021. Things were not just bad. They were catastrophic. 

The firm, which had been valued at £1.3bn after it listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2018, had lost 98 per cent of its value. It had been banned from lending to new customers and owed so much in compensation claims for mis-sold loans that it was technically bankrupt.

Amigo turned to Lansons in July 2021 in a last-ditch bid to rescue its reputation. Desperate times called for innovative measures, and Lansons decided to turn traditional financial comms thinking on its head by seeking a high profile at a time of weakness and leading on honesty as the most effective way of changing attitudes to the firm. 

A key target was to engage with the Financial Conduct Authority – which had managed to block a previous attempt by Amigo to reach a legal deal where it would pay a fraction of the claims to those owed compensation.

Core messaging included stressing that Amigo was under a new management team and being honest that the firm had made terrible mistakes in the past. 

Lansons overturned Amigo’s previous ‘minimise everything’ media strategy. A charm offensive also took place with Treasury officials and ministers, as well as Amigo’s 8,000 shareholders, and charities and stakeholder groups such as Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert team. 

The firm came up with a more generous compensation scheme, with the help of a committee of customers owed compensation. 

The approach has seen media reporting of Amigo switch from hostile to neutral and occasionally positive. And last year the FCA announced that it would not oppose Amigo’s revised compensation scheme. Crucially, in May 2022 the scheme was approved by the High Court, which meant Amigo was able to stay in business and is – at the time of writing – solvent.

Judge’s comment

“Brilliant example of analysing the problem and identifying whose trust and support the organisation needed to succeed. Great outcome and really good results.”

Highly commended

‘Protecting corporate reputation and building confidence in a perma-crisis’ by easyJet

Supported by FGS Global and Taylor Herring, easyJet has set out to regain the confidence of consumers in taking to the skies in the wake of COVID-19. Scenario planning has been key in anticipating and responding to issues. A combination of proactive media relations with creative brand campaigns helped result in more than 15,000 articles in print and online in the UK alone in 2022.


‘Crisis communications for a land contamination zone’ by BECG Group for Anon 

‘Household financial confidence tracker’ by Edelman for

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in


Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Explore further