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MAS to ditch TV ads as it slashes marketing spend by a third

The Money Advice Service will no longer run TV advertising campaigns, says chief executive Caroline Rookes as the organisation slashes its marketing budget by a third.

The MAS’s 2015/16 business plan, published today, reveals its marketing spend for “money advice” services has been cut from £13.2m in 2014/15 to £8.8m.

The FCA confirmed last week that MAS’s total budget for money advice services for 2015/16 has been cut by 21 per cent to £34.1m. Its budget for debt advice services will increase by 36 per cent to £47m, leaving its total budget unchanged at £81.1m.

Speaking to Money Marketing, Rookes says: “We have reduced our marketing spend because we want to be as efficient as we can. We have found that as we have increased our reach, people are getting to know us so we don’t need to spend as much on marketing.

“Also, the political reality is that we have come under criticism for our marketing budget.”

Earlier this month, a Treasury-commissioned review of the MAS carried out by Christine Farnish recommended it cut its money advice budget in half and radically overhaul its structure.

Asked whether the MAS would continue to run TV and radio marketing campaigns, Rookes says: “You are unlikely to see TV advertising from us. We may continue with radio, but what we are trying to do is communicate specific messages rather than just saying ‘we are here’.”

The MAS will also reduce its spend on printed guides from £1.1m in 2014/15 to £350,000.

But its budget for corporate communications and public relations will increase from £887,000 to £945,000.

The MAS says it will reduce the scope of, or stop developing, services which are duplicated by other organisations. The Farnish review highlighted a number of areas where the MAS is duplicating services provided elsewhere.

The MAS says: “We aim to complement and add to the services and resources provided by others. In order to ensure we focus our own efforts and resources on areas where we can add the most value, we will be much more active in referring our customers to alternative sources, such as insurance comparison websites.”

Rookes adds: “As part of the follow up work to the review, we will be looking at what those areas are. One example would be comparison tables: we will keep our annuity table because no-one else has produced something like it, but mortgage tables may be an area we pull back from.

“We may refer people to other providers of money and budgeting advice. We will need to ensure the advice provided by those organisations is impartial and of sufficient quality for us to do so.”

The MAS also says it plans to play a greater role in financial education for children, another recommendation of the Farnish review.

It says it will publish a plan by summer setting out how it plans to take a “leadership role” in financial education.

Rookes says: “We have work to do to identify exactly what our role should be and what we can afford.” 

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Comments

There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. E L Wisty (an only twin) 30th March 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Speaking to Money Marketing, Rookes says: “We have reduced our marketing spend because we want to be as efficient as we can. We have found that as we have increased our reach, people are getting to know us so we don’t need to spend as much on marketing.”

    So, one could infer that public awareness of MAS has increased significantly. Somehow I doubt it.

    “The MAS also says it plans to play a greater role in financial education for children”. Having consistently warned my children about ‘stranger, danger!’, I’d prefer it if La Rookes stayed away from them.

    Besides, the most cost-effective thing that she could do for MAS (and all of us), would be to resign.

  2. Wonder if she has been given a pay cut ?

    Rookes says: “We have work to do to identify exactly what our role should be and what we can afford.”

    Crikey; if you don’t bloody know by now what your role is, what hope is there ? and if you don’t know what you can afford ……. and your in charge of debt advice/guidance

    To answer my first question, no of course not ….. we are the industry that rewards failure and compensates the bad !!

  3. The printed guides were the only thing MAS had going for it.

  4. save £81.1 million, disband MAS and give it to useful organisations like CAB and TPAS. Then remove the levy that financial advisers have to pay to all three organisations.

  5. @Alan – I used to like the printed guides to and would hand them to consumers. They had a variety of different useful ones including ones on Lasting Powers of Attorney.
    Whilst everything CAN be downloaded you will ever need from the internet, people do like to have a booklet/something tangible to hold in their hand and refer to.

  6. ….marketing budget slashed by 21%, debt advice service budget up 36% = total budget unchanged!

    Here’s a bit of “free” debt advice -stop spending money on pointless activities.

  7. Steady on there Brian !! I bet poor ole martin Wheatley spat out his tea on reading your last bit (remove the levy that we have to pay). You should know by now its only the bad and corrupt that get discounts !!!

    Ye gods the poor man will have to have a lie down, next thing we will have the common man (or woman) walking the halls of the palaces of the mighty breaking wind !!

  8. @Alan That and the impartial mortgage tables.

  9. @Alan Those and the impartial mortgage tables. Where to now?

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