The reasons behind the FCA’s decision to pick Arnold Schwarzenegger for its payment protection insurance claim deadline campaign have been revealed through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The FCA used advertising agency M&C Saatchi to come up with ideas for a PPI deadline campaign. The advertisements featuring Arnie are intended to raise awareness of the August 2019 deadline, signpost consumers to information and help people decide what to do.
Slides presented to the FCA by Saatchi, acquired by Mortgage Strategy sister title Money Marketing through an FOIA request, show that the animatronic 80s head of the former Terminator star would be a good fit for the campaign for a number of reasons.
The presentation says the chosen character needs to be “the epitome of directness”, “a doer, not a talker”, and “likeable enough to get away with being blunt.”
“This person should be recognisable and able to get our message talked about by the nation,” the presentation says.
The FCA conducted three rounds of consumer testing using consultants The Nursery Research & Planning.
All found Arnie’s “Do It Now” message “arresting”. Consumers said the campaign was “unusual and off the wall” but “easy to remember.”
“You don’t have to like it to get it,” the presentation adds, noting that some consumers who did not like the advert still laughed at it.
“While the majority of people do like it, it is not to everyone’s taste,” Saatchi says. “However, even those that do not ‘like’ it are still able to take out a clear message. Arnie’s character – and presentation here – is, while shouty, still playful and enjoyable.”
The research found that “for some younger consumers, this is the only ad they are prepared to consider.”
The presentation reads: “He’s like a fitness instructor for decision making, he is only a head because he wants people to use theirs, he keeps things ticking because, without him, we put things off, and his job is to drive people to the FCA to make an informed decision.”
Saatchi concludes: “The Arnie character will evolve across two years ensuring that people continue to pay attention as the messaging evolves. Some variation in Arnie’s tone and catchphrases is key to this.”
Saatchi also dismisses fears that Arnie would be seen as a representative of the FCA brand, but is a positive presence in teamwork with the FCA representative in the adverts.
FCA ropes in Hollywood star Schwarzenegger for PPI campaign
The regulator confirmed the advertising campaign was funded through the group account of the 18 firms with the most PPI complaints.
However, the regulator would not release information about how much Arnold Schwarzenegger was paid to feature in the advertising campaign.
It said that information was exempt from the Freedom of Information Act because it compromises the actor’s personal data. It also said it could prejudice his commercial interests.