Campaign: Switch to Maestro fuels holiday spending boom - Consumer PR

Campaign: Rebranding of Switch as Maestro

Client: S2 Card Services

PR team: Starfish Communications

Timescale: January 2004-January 2005

Budget: £250,000

S2 Card Services, a British inter-bank company that operates the Switch brand, announced that UK debit cards would be re-branded under the internationally accepted Maestro brand in 2002. With the switchover still ongoing though, Starfish Communications was hired to mount a campaign to maintain presence and inform customers of the new system and its benefits. Objectives

To help inform both customers and retailers of the migration from Switch to Maestro and its benefits. To ensure the continued strength of Switch/Maestro as one of the dominant UK debit cards.

Strategy and Plan

Because the story had already been covered, Starfish Communications concentrated on cementing the Switch and Maestro names together.

A previous ad campaign by the Advertising Agency had used a pair of penguins - 'Miss Switch' and 'Mr Maestro' - who got married and assumed the name 'Mr and Mrs Maestro'. Starfish Communications chose to continue this theme, handing out fluffy penguins on a roadshow around UK shopping centres.

In an effort to court the media, the campaign enlisted the help of Changing Rooms presenter Anna Ryder Richardson - who was photographed with penguins at London Zoo. The campaign team thought the popularity of the show and its reputation for successful makeovers would highlight the transformation of the brands perfectly.

Starfish Communications also sought to bring what was in fact an old story back into the newspapers by publicising a number of new Switch/Maestro-sponsored surveys. The aim was to see the two names together, through turning old data from the banks involved into new stories. The campaign released reports such as 'The Cost of Christmas', 'The Cost of Summer Holidays' and 'The Death of the Cheque'.

Radio and local press competitions were also released under the dual-brand, posing such questions such as, 'Which name did musical maestro Reg Dwight switch to?' incorporating the brands and the makeover theme.

Measurement and Evaluation

Starfish Communications hired media Metrica to analyse coverage. It reported 600 pieces during the campaign.

The reports were covered in almost all national dailies, and 'The Cost of Christmas' report saw 13 TV spots.

Eight-nine per cent of coverage explicitly linked the Switch/Maestro brand.

Results

Prompted awareness rose from 39 per cent in September 2003 to 73 per cent in November 2004, with unprompted awareness up from 24 per cent to 51 per cent. Spending on Switch/Maestro during the campaign increased by 16 per cent to a record £68.7bn.

"We thought it was really interesting and were keen to talk about how retailers dealt with it,' comments Liz Hamson, The Grocer news and features editor. 'Starfish set us up with the right people and refined the angle.'

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