As the airline industry regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority was keen to generate top tier broadcast media coverage over the Christmas and New Year period to raise consumer awareness of the ATOL holiday protection scheme that it runs. After a year in which 12 travel firms went bust – the most prominent of which was Monarch Airlines – it wanted to ensure that customers booked holidays that are covered by ATOL.
Working with the CAA comms team we devised a three phase strategy to ensure the ATOL story generated broadcast media coverage throughout late December – when many families start researching where they want to go on vacation – through to January, the busiest month for holiday bookings.
Despite all of the major travel companies offering holiday-related consumer stories to the media our CAA/ATOL story dominated the broadcast agenda over the three phases of the campaign with 49 TV and Radio stations covering the story.
Phase 1 was aimed at families who would be spending their Christmas break researching holiday destinations. For this phase we focussed on the success of their Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme which helps settles disputes between customers and airlines when things go wrong. The CAA decided to name and shame the small number of airlines that hadn’t signed up.
As a result the CAA’s CEO Andrew Haines appeared on the holy trinity of BBC business programming, BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money, followed by the Today Programme Business slot and BBC Breakfast’s business slot. Whilst over on Sky Sunrise CAA Director of policy Tim Johnson was telling the same story. Additional radio coverage was secured after a Sky News Radio interview with Andrew was syndicated to over 200 commercial radio station newsrooms.
Phase 2 of the campaign was aimed very much at the consumer at the point of purchase on the eve of Sunshine Saturday – the first Saturday of January in which more holidays are booked by Brits than any other day of the year. For this phase we recruited consumer expert Harry Wallop to give consumers last minute tips and advice which included checking that their holiday was ATOL protected.
National TV coverage included BBC Breakfast, This Morning and Channel Five News. Harry also carried out 17 BBC and Commercial regional radio interviews from our studios.
Phase 3 involved the syndication of an audio feature, recorded with Harry in our studios and distributed to commercial stations generating a further 15 items of coverage throughout the remainder of January.