Poster contractors are at least 2m out of pocket after the expected election windfall failed to materialise.
The fall-off in spending is blamed on the long campaign and the fact that despite expectations, the two main parties have not spent as much as in previous elections. A total poster expenditure of 13m since the start of January is anticipated.
“Elections are when contractors fill their boots,” says Mills & Allen commercial director David Pugh, “but there has not been the big slush fund for last-minute activity.”
One contractor admits it had budgeted for the main parties to spend a total of 5m in April but less than 3m has been spent. John Major is believed to have rejected plans for an 11th hour “advertising blitz” on the grounds that the party had to stay within budget.
Another source says: “We thought there would be an extra tranche (of money) in April but the reality was they had spent all they had.”
He says the contractors lost twice because advertisers were reluctant to use the medium at the same time as the anticipated heavy electioneering.
Francis Goodwin, joint managing director of Maiden Outdoor, agrees: “We saw some normal advertisers avoiding April. “
But the contractors report healthy bookings for May, with Maiden predicting a record month.
Cover Story, page 38