In the summer lull I have been catching up on some ongoing projects. One of those is tracking the overall level of government ad spending by watching the Central Office of Information. They published their annual report on 24th July and reported that they spent Â£338 million on behalf of the government on ads last year. This is a rise of 5% over the previous year.
As you can see from the graph below Labour have managed to produce a peak of ad spending to coincide with elections in 2001 and 2005. Note that John Major’s government did not electioneer on the public purse in 1997. Labour have also managed to habituate a level of government ad spending that is three times that of the Major years.
No doubt if Gordon Brown goes to the country in the spring next year the civil service will magically have predicted this and we will see government advertising peak at over Â£350 million next year. We’ll see.
The so-called Chief Executive of this organisation is called Alan Bishop. He is a career advertising man who became a civil servant in 2002. He pays himself Â£165K a year, Â£10K up on the previous year. Bishop has really fallen on his feet. He no longer has to take any risks or get out there and sell anything but he still manages to rake in a real entrepreneur’s salary.