Spare the small ads

No one should have been surprised by the leaked letter from the deputy chief executive of the Central Office of Information revealing 50% cuts to ad spend and further cuts in other areas. What is disappointing is that the coalition Government has set about cutting without engaging sector bodies to give independent advice and guidance on how to save money while protecting what is essential.

Peter Buchanan says “essential marketing” campaigns will continue but often it is not the big-message, highly visible campaigns which are effective. The Government has to understand that shifting community attitudes and behaviours takes time and ongoing investment.

Ministers risk losing excellent behavioural change campaigns such as “Tosa Mibeko”, which tackles irregular migration from Congo, “Joint Enterprise”, which educates young people of the consequences of knife crime, and the “Don’t be your own worst enemy” campaign, right, which saved the Army over £5.5m.

All of these have won IVCA Awards for saving lives and reducing illegal immigration.

These excellent programmes achieve tremendous impact and value for money. Losing them will cost the Treasury and society far more than any potential savings.

Marco Forgione, Chief executive, IVCA

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