Media Relations: AA appoints Citigate in bid to 'punch its weight'

The AA's Business Services division is embarking on a heavyweight press campaign to ensure that its profile reflects its position as the largest provider of roadside services to businesses.

'The AA has lost ground to its competitors in terms of share of voice,' said John Wilson, media consultant at Citigate Communications.

The agency has been hired to put the motoring services giant's media relations on a proactive footing and 'rebuild relationships' with fleet, business and national publications.

'The popular perception is that the RAC is at least as big as the AA.

The reality though is that the AA is about twice as big. It needs to punch its weight in the media,' said Wilson. He added that with about nine million drivers covered through Business Services, the AA was well positioned to gather a range of human-interest stories that would extend the campaign beyond business pages.

The campaign will identify issues affecting business and fleet managers on which the division can comment with authority, said AA PR manager Ian Crowder.

He pointed to legislation, such as the Corporate Manslaughter Bill, which was published last month, that is of major concern to business clients, which could benefit from advice from the AA.

The appointment of an agency for Business Services comes as the AA reviews its PR operations following its £1.75bn sale to private equity firms last year (PRWeek, 25 March).

The AA's in-house PR team was slashed from 18 to just six following the sale and was restructured so that divisional communications teams could operate independently.

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