Select Committee on Treasury Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 240-259)

MR SEAN WILLIAMS, MR COLIN BROWN, MS SUE COOK AND MR GORDON ASHWORTH

6 JUNE 2007

  Q240  Mr Fallon: The advertising—if you could just answer the question we can get through this. Is there national advertising or not?

  Ms Cook: There will be national advertising at the end of the campaign but the campaign is focused on regions and there will be advertising in each region as it rolls out in the regions. There will be advertising as well as consumer education.

  Q241  Mr Fallon: In your memorandum to us at three points you say there will be national advertising.

  Ms Cook: There will be at the end of the campaign.

  Q242  Mr Fallon: That is paragraphs 12, 18 and 20; that is not happening at the moment.

  Ms Cook: It is not happening at the moment, no.

  Q243  Mr Fallon: When will it happen?

  Ms Cook: It will happen at the end of the year and it will happen in the regions as we roll out the campaigns in those regions.

  Q244  Mr Fallon: Yes, I am asking about national advertising, not about the regions. When will there be national advertising?

  Ms Cook: December this year and that will be for people who are thinking of saving for next year, but I must say to you that there are other ways of getting messages out to the nation than advertising. We are also using national public relations, PR, working with the media, which again is a way of getting messages out without paying for advertising.

  Q245  Mr Fallon: I understand that, but you have told us you are using national advertising but in fact this is for Christmas 2008 is it not?

  Ms Cook: Yes.

  Q246  Mr Fallon: Why would you be doing that in December when people are thinking about Christmas 2007; would it not be more logical to do it immediately after Christmas?

  Ms Cook: We will be running it in December and January because our research tells us that people start to decide how they are going to save for Christmas in December and start to actually start the schemes in January.

  Q247  Mr Fallon: That is not what your memorandum says. Your memorandum says, paragraph 20, "The campaign will end in late November/early December." That is not January.

  Ms Cook: Maybe there is some confusion then; that is the end of the regional rollout, we will be carrying out national advertising and public relations in December and January. I apologise if we have made an error in the memorandum, but those are the plans.

  Q248  Mr Fallon: How much advertising and national PR are you going to get for £1 million?

  Ms Cook: We are not going to spend all of the £1 million on advertising; I can tell you if you hold on a moment how much we are going to spend at the end of the campaign.

  Q249  Chairman: While you are doing that can I just point out your memorandum to us where you say "The launch will disseminate information showing the options for short term savings for Christmas this year", 2007, so in response to Michael's "You are advertising in Christmas 2007 for 2008", I think you are all over the place.

  Ms Cook: The launch was last week and the launch last week referred to options for advertising for 2007. The launch was not an advertising launch, it was a public relations launch, and we got a great deal of press coverage and media coverage and broadcast media coverage, so the message actually went out. I can come back to you later with the number of opportunities to hear and see that people had—

  Q250  Mr Fallon: What I am interested in is how this is getting through to the people who need to hear it. How much of the million quid is going on national advertising; you must know roughly.

  Ms Cook: I can tell you.

  Q251  Mr Fallon: Could we have a figure?

  Ms Cook: £600,000 altogether.

  Q252  Mr Fallon: £600,000.

  Ms Cook: No, sorry, hold on a second, I apologise for that because there are other things included there, it is £400,000.

  Q253  Mr Fallon: Of the £400,000 how much will go for 2008, for your January campaign?

  Ms Cook: It will all go for 2008, the advertising, but you are talking about this as an advertising campaign—

  Q254  Mr Fallon: I am just asking you to answer the questions that I am putting to you. I need to know, we need to know, how much advertising is being spent in terms of Christmas 2007, is it nought?

  Ms Cook: Yes, because we are using public relations.

  Q255  Mr Fallon: So it is simply not true in your memorandum that this programme is supported by national advertising, which you say in paragraphs 12, 18 and 20. That is not true.

  Ms Cook: It is true; the education programme will be supported by national advertising at the end of the year and there will be £400,000 worth of advertising.

  Q256  Mr Fallon: But all that is for next Christmas, 2008.

  Mr Williams: If I might just add one point here—

  Q257  Mr Fallon: I do not want stuff added; I want an answer to the question.

  Ms Cook: I have answered it.

  Q258  Mr Fallon: It turns out the national advertising you have told a Parliamentary Select Committee will happen will not in fact take effect until Christmas 2008.

  Ms Cook: Can I say to you that advertising is not the only way to get messages across to consumers, it is one channel. The main channel to get national messages across is public relations, which is what we did at our launch last week. We spent a certain amount, obviously nothing like £400,000 on that, but that was a way of pushing the message out to consumers using the media as a channel.

  Q259  Mr Fallon: Can you give us a breakdown of how the £1 million is going to be spent, please, in a note to the Committee?

  Ms Cook: Yes, absolutely.


 
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