The main objective of the campaign was to raise awareness of a road atlas, published by the AA, specifying the location of every fixed speed camera in the UK.
Inevitably the atlases were going to create an interesting debate around the topic of speed cameras but our role was to ensure that the AA was portrayed throughout as an organisation that urges safe driving, not speeding. Speed cameras are placed in locations where there have been fatal or serious accidents and so by providing information on where they are situated, motorists can be made fully aware of any black spots and completely mindful of the dangers.
Full credit has to be given to our client at the AA who helped us reach the coverage levels we did (160 radio stations, plus 2hrs of TV) by ensuring that we had every resource we needed for each of the target media. For example, the AA were able to provide a spokesperson at each of two filming locations on the morning of the campaign (next to speed cameras on a dual-carriageway section of the A316 in Twickenham and at a lay-by on the A339 near Basingstoke) as well as providing a third representative to fulfil the packed schedule of radio interviews taking place from a central studio location via ISDN. We were also supplied with copies of the new atlases for all presenters and reporters to use on air. In addition, black and white archive footage was made available to TV programmes to help deliver the message that on its 100th anniversary, the AA is still urging people to drive safely within the law.
The results were outstanding. At least 72 items and well over 2 hours of TV coverage was secured, with the AA's two spokespeople doing 14 interviews between them and reaching an audience in excess of 36 million. The day began with GMTV twice going live from the Twickenham speed camera, with the AA's Nicola Atkinson on their sofa. At the same time, BBC Breakfast did several live reports from the Basingstoke lay-by with Stephen Mesquita, the General Manager of AA Publishing, who then recorded a soundbite for a package that ran on the BBC1 One and Six O'clock news. En route to London for a live with Channel 4 News At Noon and down-the-line interviews with Central, Granada and Anglia, Stephen recorded a further piece for channel Five's evening news. Nicola meanwhile also did interviews with Sky News and BBC News 24. In all, the story ran on 15 different TV news programmes on BBC1, ITV1, Channel 4 and Five, as well as running repeatedly on the three 24-hour news channels. … And this was all before Jeremy Clarkson featured the story on that week's Top Gear!
The volume of radio coverage (a combined weekly reach of more than 66 million) resulted from a staggering 49 interviews starting with pre-records with IRN, BBC Radio 1 and Sky News Radio. A 06.10 Live interview with BBC Sheffield kicked off a mammoth schedule of 30 live and 13 pre-recorded interviews, culminating in one with BBC Radio 4's flagship Six O'clock News programme. Other highlights included BBC Radio 2 and 5 Live, 28 further regional BBC stations, Talk Sport, Century and LBC. Finally, to ensure all radio opportunities were covered, we also gave away copies of the new atlas on a large number of BBC and commercial stations.