Your tax dollars at work on you

Government ads: They taste awful, but they work

The latest annual report on advertising by the federal government has been posted here. In the fiscal year of 2011-2012, the Harper government spent $78.5 million on advertising, which is actually the lowest total since the Conservatives formed government. (See this post for more background.)

Last week, Glen McGregor reviewed a recent poll on attitudes toward the government’s advertising.

More than half of those surveyed this week reacted negatively to the ads, calling them either political advertising, a waste of taxpayers’ money, or “junk.” The interactive voice-response poll by Forum Research found that only about one respondent in ten thought the widely-broadcast ads were just part of normal government communications…

Respondents to the poll most often characterized the campaign as political advertising for the Conservative Party (30%), while 24 per cent called them “a waste of taxpayers’ money” and 12 per cent denounced them as “more commercial junk.”

But, be that as it may, there was also this bit dug up by the Canadian Press last month in a review of the government’s own polling on its advertising.

The internal Privy Council Office analysis of the April 2012 post-advertising survey may provide a clue to the Harper government’s continued use of EAP ads. The analysis, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, notes that among those who had not seen the ads, 42 per cent approved of the overall performance of the government. But the number rises to 47 per cent among those who had seen the TV spots, a five-percentage-point boost in popularity attributed to the advertising campaign.

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