Back to the future: New lessons for old campaigns

McCann Bristol's Lauren Chamberlain looks back at an old campaign with fresh eyes from the IPA's Strategic Bootcamp.

We are spotlighting some of the best essays from our MIPA qualifying courses and qualifications. Here, McCann Bristol's Lauren Chamberlain earned a Distinction at the IPA's Strategic Bootcamp by looking back at a previous Motability campaign and applying the lessons learned during the workshop.

The Motability Scheme’s unique, all-inclusive package exists to give their customers, their families and carers, access to worry-free motoring; giving them greater freedom to get out and about to do the day-to-day things that they need and want to do.

Since 2017 and the introduction of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), it has allowed for more individuals to be eligible for the Motability Scheme, including more people with cognitive disabilities (rather than people with just physical disabilities). This provided us with a need to engage with those people who are eligible but are not benefiting from the Scheme, enabling them to find their everyday freedom. We know that Motability’s target audience are very active on social channels, so we ran a Facebook campaign to target these audiences, using customer testimonial videos to tell their stories about the Motability Scheme. The main objective of the campaign was to raise awareness amongst eligible Motability audiences and encourage them to join the Scheme.

As we look to review the strategy again, we should apply the strategic formula that is ‘where, who and what’, to make sure that our strategy is simple, practical, insightful and compliments our creative brief, in order to get the desired output we would be hoping to get if we ran the campaign again.



Motability are not constantly fighting for share of voice amongst their competitors like other brands due to the fact that Motability’s service is so niche that they don’t have any real competitors. However they still face the same challenges as other brands as many people don’t necessarily know anything about them, have a limited understanding about what they offer or believe that they don’t qualify for it either.

Since the introduction of PIP, the problem became more apparent and was identified as ‘even if people are aware of the Motability Scheme, they still think that it’s only for people with physical disabilities, not cognitive disabilities as well’. In the original strategy (see figure 1), we used this diagnosis to structure the ‘where’ for the strategy to immediately understand the problem to help us position the desired behaviour that we wanted our audiences to take. Although this ‘where’ isn’t completely misaligned as it could still encourage a change of behaviour amongst our target audience, it needed to be much more tangible to be able to identify the opportunity which the campaign actually needed to do. We needed to empower newly eligible prospects with reasons as to why the Motability Scheme is as much for them as it is for people with physical disabilities. Whereas by simply getting prospects to engage with the Motability brand, which we did in the first instance, many people didn’t know anything about the Scheme, making it intangible and not actionable to deliver against.

Customers who repeatedly come back to the Motability Scheme after their first three-year lease has ended, help to drive Motability’s growth, so it is important to empower them with the right benefits of the Scheme from the start. After re-evaluating the ‘where’ of the strategy, we should have teased out the core action that we wanted our prospects to take. To do this, we needed to shift the focus to make it more tangible and drive the desired behaviour and action from prospects, hence if we applied the following ‘where’ strategy we would encourage a change of action: ‘to empower (eligible) people with cognitive disabilities with the right reasons to get them to join the Motability Scheme’ (see figure 2).

As a result, this would have been a much better approach to take, as by simply asking the audience to engage with Motability, with no reasons or understanding of what the Scheme is about, we cannot hope to evoke a response and get them to join the Motability Scheme. Therefore if we want to get more (eligible) prospects to join the Scheme and dispel the problem that we’ve identified; we need to give them the information that they’re looking for upfront in order to change that behaviour, making it a clearer and more actionable campaign.


As mentioned previously, Motability offer a niche service but also are only able to target eligible recipients who receive the mobility allowance, which means that they have a smaller audience group to target to begin with. Despite this, it is still important that we have a core target audience, so we can design our campaign and media plans around these audiences; yet we need to bear in mind that we don’t isolate the other audiences that Motability target such as carers or people with physical disabilities.
We know that people with cognitive disabilities such as Anxiety or Autism, sometimes find it difficult to get out. This audience like to plan and prepare in advance to reduce the anxiety around going somewhere or meeting new people. For example, meeting someone new or planning a journey (via public transport) to the shop can be difficult and instead they end up relying on others for these things.

Originally, the insight for the ‘who’ part of the strategy did refer to the struggles that people, who are eligible for the Scheme, have when trying to achieve day-to-day tasks but this was tightly tailored towards people with physical disabilities and wasn’t inclusive of people with cognitive disabilities (see figure 1). The key to getting a good insight is making sure that there is a common logic and behaviour within the insight. Whilst the first insight (see figure 1) again wasn’t incorrect, the newly aligned insight (see figure 2) doesn’t directly refer to audiences with just physical disabilities as it is did previously. The insight still comes from a common behaviour and logic that rings true with Motability audiences but instead it makes the strategy a much more meaningful, valid and sufficient insight that will help to steer our thinking and helping to resonate with our key target audience.

Therefore, if we did run this campaign for a second time, we would need to look at capturing the common behaviour from our insight within the messaging of the video and copy of the social ads. By doing so, this could help the creative resonate with the audience more clearly as we’re directly addressing a key behaviour helping to deliver a better and more actionable campaign.

Figure 3: Social Ads


One thing that is really important when it comes to the Motability Scheme are the ‘worry-free motoring’ benefits that customers get when joining the Scheme, but these aren’t always made clear when communicating with audiences for the first time.

Figure 4: Social Ads

The main aim of the campaign was to raise awareness and to get eligible audiences to join the Motability Scheme. I believe that whilst we delivered a campaign, which did engage with prospects about the Scheme; it didn’t necessarily encourage an actionable response from prospects to join. To conclude, the strategy that was used for this campaign over-delivered on the emotional side but didn’t create a balance by delivering any rational and fundamental benefits that prospects needed to know upfront before being able to emotionally engage with Motability.

Lauren Chamberlain is a Senior Account Manager at McCann Bristol. This essay earned her a Distinction on the IPA's Strategic Bootcamp, which is running next during EffWeek 2019 in October.

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Last updated 21 January 2022