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Advice UK says MAS spends too much on marketing

Advice UK says the Money Advice Service has spent too much money on raising awareness, including its controversial TV advert, and suggested it should focus more on the service it provides.

In June last year, the service launched a £4m ad campaign which claimed the service offers free, independent, unbiased advice, which was a “breath of fresh air”.

In April, the MAS business plan said the service will spend almost half its annual £46.3m advice budget on marketing and brand awareness.

During the committee’s first evidence session in its inquiry into MAS today, Advice UK national money advice coordinator David Hawkes said there is already enough demand for the service.

He said: “A concern we have in terms of the business plan is just how much money is being spent on branding, on marketing, on communications including television campaigns. That is about £20m and comparing that to the £30m being spent on advice we are not confident that is right at all.

“We feel that money would be much better spent on expanding front line delivery rather than television campaigns.”

Financial Services Practitioner Panel chair Joe Garner said: “It looks quite a large amount on marketing but the questions raised on the practitioner panel are not so much on the detail of the expenditure but the overall value.”

Moneysavingexpert.com founder Martin Lewis said: “Some of the people at the top seem more concerned with a narcissistic brand building exercise rather than giving one to one answers which is what we need.”

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  1. Lewis is part of the problem. The MAS never pointed anyone to Icelandic savings banks, to Crown Currency Exchange or Travel Money Services. His website has 154,583 backlinks according to Site Explorer. He’s sold it to moneysupermarket.com which has 1,591,513 backlinks. The MAS has 28,965. It can hardly go out and buy backlinks but as it stands it will never show up on Google searches so how are consumers meant to find out about it? Lewis just sold his business to MONY because it is so good at backlink profiles and SEO he says. Lewis adds to the problem using his editorial appearances to point the public to his website whenever he can instead of independent consumer sites like MAS or Consumer Focus. He’s done such a good job promoting his energy saving guide over Consumer Focus it’s been shut down although he did shout a lot more about it once the announcement it was closing had been made.

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