Saatchis scoops APACS credit trial

LONDON - The Association for Payment Clearing Services has briefed Saatchi & Saatchi to test different ways of advertising its new PIN number credit card verification scheme, due to roll out by 2004.

The decision follows a pitch, which was handled by the AAR, that has included Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, J Walter Thompson, D'Arcy and Publicis. Saatchis will work on a two-month project, after which time the other agencies may be called in for further pitching.

APACS, the banking industry trade body (backed by high-street brands such as Lloyds TSB and Barclays), is working with PricewaterhouseCoopers to launch a trial of the scheme next year in Northamptonshire.

Saatchis has been asked to come up with a range of ideas to promote the trial, and consequent national roll-out of the scheme, and is in a good position to win the entire £30m account.

APACS said at the time of the pitch announcement that it wanted to take a fully integrated approach, using television, press, posters, online, ambient and PR to get the message across to consumers throughout the UK in a long-term mass behavioural change campaign. The organisation will address its media needs when the creative agency appointment is finalised.

The PIN number initiative will mean consumers will have to key in a number to verify their credit card purchases instead of signing for them at the point of purchase. It was spearheaded by APACS owing to the rising cost of fraud in the sector, which now tops £411m each year.

The £1.1bn scheme will mean banks and retailers will have to replace their back-office systems and point-of- sale terminals.

APACS denied a decision had been made, or was imminent, and Saatchi & Saatchi refused to comment as Campaign went to press.

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