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Brand Positioning Agency

Brand Voice Development

Broadcast PR

PR & Reputation Management Company

Aptia: Launching the world’s biggest start-up


In a game-changing collaboration, Smoking Gun was appointed to manage the global communications for Aptia Group’s highly anticipated 2024 launch. Aptia, emerging from the strategic acquisition of Mercer’s UK pensions and US health and benefits administration, is poised to manage benefits for seven million individuals across 1,100 companies. 

The launch was monumental. It was the launch of the largest start up in history.  Smoking Gun’s challenger mindset was just what Aptia needed to depart from the formulaic and embrace disruption to revolutionise client experiences. 

Key objectives of the campaign were to position Aptia as the foremost pensions and benefits administrator in its target markets, to showcase Aptia’s cutting-edge technology and specialised expertise, and to build brand salience, trust, and relevance.


We executed the campaign plan, creating a collection of compelling stories for a wide range of audiences, while also highlighting Aptia’s unique proposition to industry-specific media.   It was vital we ensured that every story was told to the right audience at the right time to achieve maximum results and impact. 

Shining a light on Aptia’s C-Suite

During the first phase of the campaign, Smoking Gun created media profiles for Aptia’s C-Suite team with clearly defined key messages. These profiles were then shared with relevant trade and business media titles to leverage opportunities for industry commentary​ and thought leadership opportunities. 

Continuing to build the profile for Aptia, Smoking Gun managed the production of 13 high quality videos to be used across LinkedIn, on Aptia’s website, on internal comms channels and shared with the media. 

These videos were carefully planned and executed, and allowed for Aptia’s management team to shine a light on their passions, values, vision and goals. 

Topics covered in the videos included international leadership, investment in client services, global corporate strategy, client-centric cultures, R&D in tech/ financial services, recruitment and the importance of the right people, and future gazing on the sector. 

Building the blocks of the brand 

In the lead up to the big announcement, Smoking Gun managed a solid media relations campaign, featuring the appointment of some of Aptia’s C-suite leaders. 

The announcements included the appointments of their group chief information officer, Imran Ali, group general counsel and company secretary, Melissa Hetheringon, and CFO, Chris Raynor. 

The strategy behind the corporate profiling boosted visibility for Aptia across a wide range of top tier industry trade titles including Professional Pensions, Pensions Expert, Solicitor Journal, Healthcare and Protection, Global Legal Post, and Pensions Age, to name a few. 

Launch of Aptia, Day 1

On the day of the official launch announcement , we secured hundreds of pieces of  quality media hits across international press, national titles, trade publications and in broadcast media. A major highlight was landing an interview with CEO Bala Viswanathan on the Ian King Business Show. Coverage also included titles as diverse as the Financial Times to Pensions Professionals and included a wealth of quality overseas hits and C-Suite interviews.


373 pieces of media coverage

across national and regional print, online, broadcast, trade and business media

Global Coverage

was secured in the UK, US, India and other regions around the world

Sky News

interviewed Founder and Group CEO Bala Viswanathan on Business Live’s Ian King show to discuss Aptia’s future plans

Exclusive coverage in the Financial Times

and top tier trade titles including Pensions Age, Professional Pensions and Pensions Expert

Media reach of more than 535,643,700

with an average DA of 56


of coverage contained the client’s desired key messaging

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