The government's annual adspend has soared to a record high of
almost £200m, according to figures published earlier this
Its £192m spend for the year ending March 2001 represents a rise
of nearly 70% on the previous 12 months.
The COI Communications annual report, which details its income from all
government marketing and public information initiatives, revealed that
Whitehall's total communications spend, which also includes disciplines
such as market research, sponsorship and direct marketing, smashed the
£200m barrier for the first time, to reach £295m.
The spend cements the government's status among the UK's biggest
advertisers, putting it just behind Unilever, which spent £197.9m
during the same period, and ahead of Procter & Gamble (£132.7m),
according to figures from ACNielsen MMS.
The massive increase, which is sure to spark renewed Opposition protests
about misuse of taxpayers' money, was fuelled by a glut of controversial
projects, including campaigns to tackle benefit fraud and inform the
public of their holiday entitlement.
The Home Office, whose activity included a police recruitment drive
costing more than £5m, saw the biggest spending hike of any
department, with an increase of about 300% to £28.4m.
The Department of Social Security, Department for Education and
Employment, Ministry of Defence, Department of Health and Inland Revenue
also spent substantially more on marketing than the previous year.
The Department of Trade and Industry and Department of the Environment,
Transport and the Regions laid out less than in 1999 to 2000.
Separately, the COI expects to announce its first dedicated media
planning agency roster in the next fortnight. The results of its other
roster reviews will be unveiled in late-August.