Campaigns: Broadcast PR - New kids on the pensions block



PR Team:The London Bureau/ The Market Tiers

Campaign: Providing PensionStore spokespeople for broadcast coverage on

the government’s pensions proposals

Timescale: 4-5 March 1997

Cost:Undisclosed (Retained consultants)

Launched in January this year, PensionStore is the first pensions

company dedicated solely to the provision of pensions. Sensitive to

widespread suspicion of pensions companies in the wake of recent

scandals, the company’s communications strategy focuses on positioning

PensionStore as a clean newcomer.

TV consultancy The London Bureau and radio specialists the Market Tiers

were appointed to handle the broadcast campaign.


To position PensionStore as the leading authority on private pension



The agencies were briefed to devise a programme which combined

pro-active selling of stories and responding to pensions issues as they

arose in the media. A key challenge was PensionStore’s lack of profile

compared to more established names. ’We overcame this in two ways,’

explains Elaine Stern, consultancy director of The London Bureau. ’One

was extensive use of contacts - we know programme editors personally. A

second was to train our clients as experts and that means not plugging

the company or its products.’

A chance to test these tactics arose on 4 March when ITN’s News at Ten

reported on the government’s plans to reform the pension system by

replacing the basic state pension with individual personal pensions. As

PensionStore specialises in individual pensions, the story presented an

important opportunity for comment.

Before News at Ten had ended, a strategy had been agreed. PensionStore’s

chief executive Blake Dempster and director Marc Hommel would be offered

as industry spokespeople, available to comment on the proposals, to key

TV and radio business and current affairs programmes.

By 11.00 pm , early morning TV and radio programmes had been contacted

with details of what PensionStore would say. On Wednesday 5 March calls

continued to all national news and business programmes. In the

afternoon, a summary of PensionStore’s comments was faxed to all evening

news programmes.


Branded coverage on 11 radio stations including BBC Radio 5 Live and

Jazz FM. Branded coverage on 18 national TV news bulletins and business

programmes including BBC Business Breakfast, Sky News and European

Business News.


Coverage on almost every national news and business programme covering

the story testifies to the speed and pro-active nature of this


’It showed good journalistic sense and an understanding of our needs,’

says Adrian Smith, senior producer for European Business News.

According to Blake Dempster, the coverage has been an endorsement for

PensionStore. ’In this business you have to be heard of and it helps

when the companies we are talking to say, I saw you on television.’

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