M&C Saatchi defends £12m police work

M&C Saatchi has been defending its £12m police recruitment ad campaign, after several critical reports claimed that the campaign was an “expensive flop”.

The “Could You? Police” campaign was created for the Home Office in an effort to boost police numbers. It uses high-profile figures including heavyweight boxer Lennox Lewis, rock star Bob Geldof and Falklands War veteran Simon Weston.

The criticisms, led by the BBC, suggested that the campaign resulted in fewer than 400 extra police officers – at a cost of up to £30,000 each.

Backing up M&C Saatchi’s case, a spokeswoman for the Home Office says: “Our own research shows that the campaign has generated a very positive attitude towards joining the police. Our training colleges are full and we are on target to reach our pledge of 130,000 new officers by spring next year.”

The campaign has, however, been criticised by the Metropolitan Police Federation, which says that it might have deterred potential recruits by concentrating on the negative aspects of policing.

M&C Saatchi has taken out advertising space in Marketing Week and another advertising trade journal, outlining the success of the campaign.

The agency’s chief executive Moray MacLennan says: “The success of the campaign was so overwhelming that we decided to create our own ad to put the record straight.”

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