Public back ad spend budget for Government campaigns

Two-thirds of people in the UK believe advertising is vital to the success of government campaigns on issues of public concern, such as climate change and drink driving.

The majority of people believe public money should be spent on advertising campaigns, despite living in an “age of austerity” and spending cuts elsewhere, according to research commissioned by the Advertising Association independent think-tank Credos.

The coalition government froze marketing spend on coming into power but has gradually re-introduced campaigns alongside closer working partnerships with brand and media owners.

Anti-drink driving, the subject of one of the longest-running government campaigns, is the issue that people are most likely to say should be supported with public money, with 77% of respondents saying this should be the case.

Those surveyed feel benefit fraud and awareness of terrorism are more important issues for the government to spend advertising budget on than health issues such as diet and smoking.

Debt management is the only issue that the majority of people think should not be publicly funded, with over half of respondents saying budget could be better spent elsewhere.

Sian Jarvis, director general of communications at the Department of Health, who is overseeing a recently released £14m marketing budget for a new Change4Life plan, says mass engagement with the anti-obesity initiative following major advertising pushes “proves we have an important role to play”.

She adds that working with commercial partners, retailers, communities and the media are “key” to the initiative’s success in influencing behaviours.

Those feeling most closely aligned with the Conservative Party are less likely to believe public money should be spent on advertising campaigns on public issues, behind those feeling closest to Labour and the Lib Dems.

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