AA marketing chief admits blame over shock mailshot

Automobile Association sales and marketing director Bob Sinclair has admitted he was wrong to approve the motoring organisation’s controversial direct mail campaign (MW last week) and has personally apologised to distraught consumers.

Sinclair says he approved the mail campaign devised by HHCL & Partners and mailed to 50,000 people last week.

The mailer included fake motoring bills and was sent to members of AA’s Five Star Service overseas motoring insurance scheme.

“As sales and marketing director for the AA, I have the authority to approve or reject,” says Sinclair. “I got it wrong by approving it.”

He adds: “There was a reaction from some people that we did not expect, but it doesn’t follow that we upset everybody. We hold our hands up and say ‘thank you for telling us’. It is a lesson well learned.”

Since the campaign started, the AA has had to issue written apologies to members who mistook the fake bills for the real thing.

The Advertising Standards Authority has received eight complaints and is carrying out an investigation.

John Wilson, whose terminally ill friend was shaken by the mailer, says Sinclair has rung him to apologise personally.

It is understood that financial compensation may be approved for some complainants.

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