Advertising Canada’s Economic Action Plan

Photo Credit: John Geddes. Originally published in Maclean’s Magazine, Monday, October 22, 2012

I was in my car yesterday listening to a compelling show on CBC’s The Current called Canada’s Economic Action Plan (EAP): Is this Prosperity or Propaganda? The subject was the amount the government is spending on advertising the EAP.  The program looked at how effective the advertising campaign has been over time and asked who was benefiting.

Intrigued, I did a bit more research and learned that, from 2009 – 2010, $53.2 million in taxpayer dollars was spent on EAP advertising.   The spring 2012 television campaign alone cost the Finance Department $4.9 million. (The Toronto Star, Sunday, February 17, 2013)

In April 2012, the Privy Council Office conducted a post-advertising analysis that surveyed the impact of the campaign on 1,000 Canadians.   Of those surveyed, 33 percent could recall the ads, but only 20 percent, or one in five Canadians remembered any details.  Only seven percent were compelled to take action, such as go to the EAP website. (The Toronto Star, Sunday, February 17, 2013)

According to these stats, it therefore cost $22 to drive one person to the website or take some other action such as fill out a form, write a complaint or follow on Twitter.  In the same survey, the Privy Council analysis also noted a bump of five percent in government approval ratings between those who had not seen the ads and those who had.

The goal of the EAP campaign is to help provide Canadians with tools to improve their personal finances and boost consumer confidence.  Based on the above stats, do you think this is money well-spent towards achieving these goals?  I’d love to hear what you think.