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AA rebrands as the roadside problem solver with £100m investment

Roadside recovery company, the AA, has modernised its brand as part of a new campaign to better reflect the British public.

After finding its customers are not so interested in the workings of a carburetor or a flywheel (as has traditionally been portrayed in the firm's promotional material) a fresh approach focuses on how drivers are enjoying journeys with minimal stress.

Putting its money where its mouth is, the AA is backing the repositioning by pumping £100m investment into CRM updates, as well as IT and roadside capabilities.

Recently, numerous heritage UK brands have undergone a similar transformation, the Post Office, British Gas and even the BBC is becoming digital first. the AA sees itself as the latest arbiter in this line to evolve, positioning itself for a modern consumer base.

Celebrating the change is an ad (AA Never Miss a Beat TV) created by adam&eveDDB, featuring a baby singing to Tina Tuner's Rolling on a River.

On this new strategy, Cheryl Calverley, head of group marketing at AA, told The Drum that it is "moving away from the nuts and bolts of roadside issues, to focus on being a problem-solving brand”.

“The AA is one of the most well-loved and trusted brands in the UK. But we really want to help take off its shackles, to talk about what’s great about having best in class breakdown cover," she said.

It is inspired by the political polling system, suggesting that most British car owners are AA or RAC members and so the rebrand looks to occupy the centre and grab the undecideds, an attempt to break the two party state of roadside repair.

To do this, it's moving away from the “well-loved” but "old fuddy duddy" position it once inhabited.

"It was time to move towards what people enjoy doing in the car, we want to show how we can help people have a smooth day, that's what'll interest them," Calverley continued.

Aiding the repositioning, 80% of respondents to an AA Populus poll of 21,850 members said they “are enthusiastic about driving”, the campaign looks to capture the comedy, the singing, the quiet contemplation that comes with traveling.

Media wise, little changes, TV is its monolith, outdoor supplements this, as does radio, ads that can be engaged with in the car are important.

However, there remains a trepidation around digital with Calverley citing issues around programmatic trading transparency as a source of reluctance.

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