The Government has been forced to slam the brakes on its controversial £100m “Get Ready for Brexit” ad blitz after accepting the EU’s offer to extend the Brexit deadline from October 31 to January 31 next year.
The campaign, devised by Engine, has been running since September 3 with most of the budget going on TV, social media, outdoor, roadshows – and even branded mugs. Direct mail did not even get a look-in.
However, it has been under fire – and heavily ridiculed – virtually since launch, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn branding it “£100m of misspent public money”, while the Advertising Standards Authority has also been inundated with over 200 complaints.
According to a report in The Times, MPs are also set to investigate the campaign over doubts of its effectiveness.
The Times quoted Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the public accounts committee, who claimed it was “difficult to prove [the campaign] is actually delivering any tangible benefits”.
Meanwhile, an assessment by the National Audit Office warned that it may have “limited impact” because it was launched in early September, which was too close to October 31.
The wording on the home page of the Get Ready for Brexit website was changed on October 18 – the day Boris Johnson agreed his deal with the EU – suggesting a no-deal exit on Halloween was less likely.
However, “pausing” the campaign might not be that easy, with hundreds of poster sites needing to be changed and, as of yesterday, there were still scores of active ads on Facebook containing the October 31 date, according to the BBC. There is no news about the fate of the branded mugs though…
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