Case Study: Pulling Power – Giving Advanced Driving Courses “Sex Appeal”

When the Institute of Advanced Motorists wanted to enhance the appeal of its advanced driving courses among younger people, Tin Man came up with “Pulling Power”, a campaign to prove that good driving increases sex appeal. Some 1,500 sign-ups later, the agency smashed its KPI 15 times over, delivered £62,500 in revenue for the charity and secured two industry awards for its work.

Campaign: Pulling Power: Giving Advanced Driving Courses Sex Appeal
Client: The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM)
PR Team:
Tin Man
Timing: September 2015


Advanced driving courses. They are not newsworthy and are usually the reserve of the grey-anorak brigade. We needed to change this common perception and increase sign-ups to IAM’s courses. To resonate with the target audience we needed to increase the courses’ relevance to a younger generation.

Dating is a big, emotional factor among 20 to 30-year-olds. So Tin Man devised Pulling Power, an impactful, content-driven campaign proving good driving increases sex appeal.

153 pieces of coverage and 1,500 sign-ups later, we smashed the KPI 15 times over, delivered £62,500 in revenue for the charity and the campaign has already won two industry awards.


The Institute of Advanced Motorists is the UK’s leading independent road safety charity.

However, they struggle to attract new audiences – in particular 24 to 34-year-olds. The main challenge is that young drivers don’t think they need to improve their driving skills.

We were briefed to increase sign-ups to its free driving assessments and position the traditionally ‘older’ organisation as relevant to a new younger audience.


We knew IAM’s traditional messaging about ‘skilling up’ wouldn’t work – 80% of young male drivers think they are already better than average behind the wheel.

We were bold in our approach. And our insight led us to devise Pulling Power, a campaign scientifically proving that bad driving is a ‘three-point turn-off’ when it comes to dating – and that better drivers are more attractive.

Two distinct news generation phases would keep the subject at the top of the media agenda and maintain interest:

  • Original omnibus research into the top dating no-nos, with a lack of prowess behind the wheel featuring in the top five turn-offs.
  • A live biological experiment scientifically proving that bad driving is unattractive.

Phase 1 – Anecdotal research

Research revealed that half of the worst offences take place in the car, with road rage firmly established as a top five dating disaster. One in ten cited good driving as more attractive than owning a nice car and great shoes, so encouraging the audience to consider improving their skills to increase their ‘pulling power’.

Phase 2 – The Science

We created humorous films of male and female models driving well and driving badly, and ran a live biological experiment with TV psychologist Jo Hemmings, where body language, pupil dilation and pulse rates of 50 candidates were measured as they watched the videos.

The results were shocking – bad driving reduced attractiveness by 50%. Four in five women were physically repulsed by terrible driving, particularly aggressive manoeuvres. For men, bad parking and selfies at the wheel were the biggest frustrations.


Did we drive consideration among younger drivers?


  • Independent post campaign research showed that as a result of the coverage, 51% of young drivers (18 to 35) would now consider taking an advanced driving course (5% uplift from pre-campaign).
  • 153 pieces of national, regional, online and broadcast press coverage were gained, including 12 nationals and youth-targeted outlets including MailOnline, MaleXtra and Buzzfeed.
  • We secured 32million opportunities to see the campaign.
  • All of the coverage included key messaging.
  • The campaign inspired a ten-minute segment on Nick Grimshaw’s Radio 1 Breakfast Show, which was filmed at IAM and broadcast to two million listeners.
  • There was a 10% increase in followers on both Twitter and Facebook
  • 35% of young drivers (18 to 35) have seen the coverage from the campaign.

Did we increase sign ups?

Yes –

  • 1,500 sign ups to the Advanced Driving Courses – 15 times more than the target figure.
  • A 50% conversion rate of sign ups to sales of driving courses delivered £62,500 in revenue and an ROI of five times the PR campaign budget.

Tin Man went on to win two PR Moment Awards for the campaign – Automotive and Transport Marketing Comms Campaign of the Year and Best Use of Evaluation.

Related Posts
Opinion: How challenger agencies can compete with the big agency networks
Barbara Bates, global CEO at Hotwire, highlights the key areas where challenger agencies can go the extra mile to compete with their larger counterparts. For a long time in [...]
60 Seconds with The Academy co-founder Mitch Kaye
60 Seconds with The Academy co-founder Mitch Kaye
Mitch Kaye, co-founder of The Academy, reveals why he and Dan Glover started their second agency, how the pair work together and his love of AFC Bournemouth. What made you [...]
Discover how PR can move from evolution to revolution
At CommsCon earlier this month, we heard a range of fantastic speakers articulate their view of what comms professionals can do to improve their output. They encouraged their [...]
Brendon Craigie Tyto PR
Opinion: Why “PR” is having a renaissance
Brendon Craigie, co-founder and managing partner at Tyto PR, examines why PR professionals are once again adopting the PR moniker. The public relations industry is in the [...]