Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

“The Government has recognised that promotional marketing is a cost-effective tool when it comes to changing behaviour” / Annie Swift, chief executive of the IPM

The IPM has welcomed the UK Government’s plans to increase its spending on Central Office of Information as set out in the first annual “proactive communications plan”, published today by the Cabinet Office.

Government marketing spend is set to grow from the £168 million spent by the now abolished Central Office of Information in 2010/11 to £285 million in 2012/13.
Much of the extra spend will be on ‘nudge’ campaigns aimed at getting people to make small but important changes to their lifestyle or habits which have a beneficial impact on them and society as a whole – for example getting people to cut back on alcohol, stop smoking, eat more healthily and take more exercise.

Annie Swift, chief executive of the IPM, says: “we’re delighted that the Government has recognised that promotional marketing is a cost-effective tool when it comes to changing behaviour.”

Swift also welcomed the Government’s commitment to monthly collection of spend figures by department, and the development of a set of metrics which will allow the Cabinet Office to measure and compare the effectiveness of different campaigns and techniques.

She adds: “The IPM has been championing robust measurement of promotional effectiveness for years; we have invested heavily in our insights offering and we have published a number of reports exploring the impact of different channels, tools and techniques.”

The Coalition Government slashed Government marketing spend when it took power. It abolished the COI in April 2012 and is creating seven ‘hubs’ (made up of departments and other government bodies with shared objectives) which will be responsible for their own spend. Part of the new communications strategy includes promoting more inter-departmental collaboration and more partnerships with charities and the private sector.

COI spend under the last Labour government hit £532 million in 2009/10.

The Cabinet Office has admitted that the current year’s £285 million planned spend may in fact be higher, saying, “We expect that additional activities will be developed during the year in response to new policy priorities”.

In the strategy’s foreword, Jenny Grey, the outgoing Government communication executive director, says that a priority will be getting departments to share information about their programmes and their communications plans “so there is an opportunity to take a more holistic view of how communication campaigns could dovetail, particularly where there are overlapping audiences and potential channels to reach those audiences.”

The seven “hubs” and their priorities, as identified by the new communications plan are:

Communities and Local Government; Transport; Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and Energy and Climate Change

  • Preventing road accidents through the THINK! Road Safety campaign
  • Maximising take-up of the Right to Buy amongst eligible social housing tenants
  • Preventing domestic fires through the Fire Kills campaign



  • Social marketing campaigns, including tobacco control and Change4Life
  • Protecting people from public health threats
  • Maintaining “business as usual” activity such as supply of blood and organs to the NHS


Work and Pension and HM Revenue and Customs


  • Preparing claimants for the introduction of universal credit
  • Encouraging voluntary disclosure of underpaid tax
  • Reducing the cost of fraud and error across the welfare system


Business, Innovation and Skills; HM Treasury; and Culture, Media and Sport

  • Communicating the government’s macroeconomic strategy
  • Promoting skills and training to increase UK’s international competitiveness
  • Building tourist numbers and spends following the success of Olympics and Diamond Jubilee using the GREAT campaign
  • Creating a regulatory environment that supports the growth of our creative and communications industries


Home Office and Justice

  • Promoting the FRANK drugs information service
  • Making the 101 police non-emergency number top of mind with the public
  • Combating violence against women and girls with a campaign to change attitudes
  • Explaining the creation of the National Crime Agency


Cabinet Office and Department for Education

  • Teacher recruitment
  • Raising awareness of the National Citizen’s Service
  • Increasing “cyber security” through the Safe Online campaign


Foreign Office, Defence and International Development

  • Recruiting for the Armed Services
  • Making the case for aid


Leave a Comment