More clarity needed on Government definition of “essential” campaigns

Marketing industry leaders are calling on the coalition Government to provide greater clarity on its definition of “essential” campaigns after the Liberal-Conservative alliance said it will freeze spending on all “non-critical” marketing.

Jason Cromack, CEO of Lateral Group, the parent company of Howitt, Dialogue Solutions, Data Lateral and Shift Click, has written an open letter acknowledging the Government’s “brave” plans to axe advertising and marketing spend by 50%.

In his letter he says: “The general public will rightly demand greater accountability from its government, so they must deliver campaigns that are effective, efficient and measurable so as to reassure people that every penny spent is accounted for.”

However Cromack adds: “Whilst I applaud the decisive action being taken, the caveat of allowing only ’essential’ campaigns I feel needs deeper clarification. Many of these campaigns have long term objectives, and because of the issues they address it is only over the next decade that we would be able to see their impact. Under the new coalition, will campaigns which do not generate immediate results be deemed ’not essential’?”

He agrees that the Government should pursue greater efficiency and effectiveness by optimising and integrating communication channels and adds: “If a consistent approach is taken to integrated communications I can personally see the Government delivering a lot more for less.”

IPA president and vice-chairman of the Ogilvy Group UK Rory Sutherland said when the freeze was first announced: “If the Government’s objectives have changed, or where it has been found that advertising is not working, then it makes sense to cut back on advertising expenditure planned by a previous government. However, in the many cases where the objectives remain, and where advertising is clearly working, cutting advertising will cost the Government far more than it saves.”

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