AXA forced to clean up its act over pavement adverts

    Tunbridge Wells Civic Society has described AXA PPP’s ‘guerrilla marketing’ campaign, that resulted in recruitment adverts being sketched onto pavements across the town, as ‘unwelcome’ and a cause of ‘widespread concern’.

    The chair of the society, Dr Janet Sturgis, was commenting after the company, that provides private health cover, was forced to remove the eight adverts following public criticism.

    A spokesman for Kent County Council, the authority responsible for pavements, said they had contacted the insurer – which is the largest private employer in Tunbridge Wells – after receiving ‘complaints’ and asked AXA PPP to remove them.

    The adverts stated: “Word on the street? We’re are looking for customer service advisors to join AXA PPP Healthcare”.

    They were drawn on the pavement with chalk and had been commissioned through an advertising agency, the insurer confirmed. They are first believed to have appeared around the weekend of April 15.

    Pressure to remove them also came from the Civic Society, one of whose members happens to be an employee at the company.

    Dr Sturgis told the Times: “I have been notified of this development. As one of our Executive members is an AXA employee, he has been made aware of widespread concern and passed it on to their publicity people. Apparently it isn’t spray paint, but chalk, so won’t last – but is still equally unwelcome.”

    A spokesman for AXA said: “We used temporary chalk pavement to try to catch the eye of prospective employees in high footfall areas of the town.

    “While we’re keen to catch the eye of prospective employees, on reflection, not all of our creative approaches work as we’d like. We therefore removed the ads last week.”

    A spokesman for Kent Police said they had not received any reports of criminal damage to pavements in Tunbridge Wells.