GORDON MAW, Marketing Manager, Virgin Direct
It was clear early on that the most effective campaign in the first
quarter of 1999 would be one that addressed the high level of confusion
felt by consumers faced with the removal of PEPs and the launch of ISAs,
and had the power to cut through an unprecedented level of noise in the
’Branson’s Guide to PEPs, TESSAs and ISAs’ set the tone as far as
information-based direct marketing was concerned. In total, almost half
a million guides were sent. Packaged in a branded A5 carton - including
an application form for the Virgin PEP (plus an early registration form
for the ISA) - our last PEP direct marketing offering took the form of a
split-screen execution in the new Virgin Direct livery used in press,
posters and TV.
One side of the fold-out mailer was headed, ’If you haven’t got this
year’s PEP sorted, this bit’s for you’, while the ISA side read: ’If
you’ve already sorted your PEP this year, this bit’s for you.’
Accessible, straight-talking information.
While Virgin Direct used below-the-line media such as supermarket and
train-station events for the first time to boost awareness early in the
campaign, the ’rookie of the year’ award went to the internet. When time
had run out for every other course of action, last-minute investors were
downloading applications from our website and ringing us to take
advantage of our free, same-day courier service.
CAROLINE CHRISTOPHER, Client Development Manager, Fidelity
Every PEP season is a busy time at Fidelity. However, this year was our
most successful to date as consumers rushed to buy their last PEPs.
Direct marketing was a key channel in getting this PEP money through the
door. We concentrated on the theme used by all our competitors - the
last-ever PEP - yet we branded it in Fidelity’s inimitable style.
We mailed a series of packs and postcards, with each mailing targeting a
specific segment of our database.
PEP activity started in January with our ’stocktake’ mailing, which
recently won silver for best direct mailpack in the Money Marketing
awards. The cover illustration showed a busy office environment, with
different clocks showing various times around the world to emphasise the
global significance of investment. While the onus of this mailer was on
encouraging clients to request a PEP pack, the February ’extra, extra,
read all about it’ teaser postcard was a precursor to our main push,
’PEPs - the final countdown.’
The intensive mailer activity culminated in March with the ’last call
for PEPs’ postcard and ensuing ’PEPs. Time to say buy! buy!’ pack. The
pack’s illustration of a busy stockmarket floor mirrored the urgency of
the last days’ push, and such intensive direct activity made the last
PEP season one of the most challenging and rewarding ever.
GRAHAM LEIGH, Marketing Director, b2
The final PEP season was an exceptional business opportunity during
which we continued to capitalise on our brand principles of simplicity
For b2 - which was launched only ten months ago - achieving the right
mix of above- and below-the-line activity (to drive both brand-building
and new-business acquisition) was crucial.
We have strived to differentiate ourselves from what consumers see as an
homogeneous group of PEP providers. Our customer communications have
been designed throughout to appeal to a broader market than the
traditional players and our choice of creative work (which features
Richard E. Grant) generated a very fresh, distinct look and feel which
appeals to young and old, savers and investors, and both beginners and
experts in the financial field.
Such a distinctive look distinguishes b2 from competitive activity in
the marketplace and gives us a head start in our below-the-line
The instantly recognisable ’sea scape’ covered one whole side of our
mailer’s outer envelope, while the brand’s creative and design elements
continued inside the pack, providing a strong reminder of the
above-the-line work (both television and press).
Combining the accepted rules of direct marketing with our own
distinctive creative approach has been essential to our success over the
Our new-business results indicate that we have got our strategy exactly
STEPHEN ABBOT, Investment Marketing Manager, Legal & General
Campaign recently identified Legal & General as one of the biggest
spenders on PEP advertising. In fact, total spend over the first quarter
of 1999 was around pounds 3 million, and was spread across three key
areas of direct response: press advertising, inserts and, most
significantly, direct mail.
As the final days for PEPs loomed, Legal & General concentrated on
national press advertising to promote three key PEPs: the UK index
tracker, the European index tracker and the corporate bond.
The direct mail included a pack in corporate livery with leaflets
explaining the key features of the PEPs, an excerpt from the Financial
Times, entitled ’The expert’s opinion’ and a straightforward one-sheet
application form. There was also a focus on encouraging people to
transfer their existing PEPs to Legal & General.
The national press strategy was to target the financial sections of the
weekend and daily papers. Activity increased during the final quarter
(January to the end of March) with multiple insertions in the press.
Previous years’ experience had identified this strategy as being the
most effective for gaining PEP customers. Legal & General has found a
mono strategy to be the most cost-effective from a pure direct response