Campaigns: Judge and Jury: ’On yer bike’ is the RAC’s latest message to its members

The RAC is winning new hearts by promoting itself as a solidly green citizen. Its incentives to members to become more environmentally minded have made it a driving force in the motoring industry, says Jessica Wenban-Smith, communications manager at Transport 2000.

The RAC is winning new hearts by promoting itself as a solidly

green citizen. Its incentives to members to become more environmentally

minded have made it a driving force in the motoring industry, says

Jessica Wenban-Smith, communications manager at Transport 2000.



RAC snubs royals! The media coverage of the unveiling of the RAC’s new

environment-friendly image was hi-jacked by the news that the car club

had ditched the crown from its logo. While the Guardian called upon the

editor of Burke’s Peerage to debate the tarnishing of the crown as a

brand icon, some reports queried the marketability of a green RAC.



Customers will see the RAC’s new identity in a range of products

designed for the non-car owner and for the ethical driver (someone who

wants to use the car less but hasn’t quite managed it). Specifically,

cyclists can now join the club and will be offered legal cover for

personal injury and damage to their bikes and clothing. In addition,

motorists can qualify for an annual no-claims discount that the RAC, in

true manifesto style, ’hopes will be spent on alternative transport when

members have the opportunity’.



Included in this package is the chance to buy a pounds 650 folding

bicycle designed by the RAC ’experts’ to fit neatly into a car boot. The

Daily Telegraph astutely calculated that it would take an RAC member 26

years of congestion-creating motoring to gather enough no-claims cash to

actually buy the bike.



And there’s the rub - the addition of ’environment’ to the RAC

dictionary is to be welcomed. The company is right to move away from the

doomed market of car devotees still pandered to by the AA. It is also

right to spot the market potential of drivers concerned about the local

and global impact of their cars. But to really win market share, the RAC

is going to have to prove that this isn’t just green-wash.



The RAC has a direct competitor in the Environmental Transport

Association which has been showing both mouth and trousers for many

years when it comes to providing services for ethical drivers. And

here’s something else for the RAC marketers to ponder - many of their

members want to reduce the amount of time spent at the steering

wheel.



In Australia, the New South Wales equivalent of the RAC offers members a

more radical range of products , including a free advisory service to

help them reduce their car use.



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