There was outrage yesterday that Recovery’s campaign calling for an end to fear based advertising by the government had been banned by leading outdoor media companies on spurious grounds.
Today I had the chance to interview Jon Dobinson of Recovery and ask him about the campaign.
In the last year the government spent £184m on advertising which has fuelled unprecedented levels of fear. According to the mental health chaity, MIND, the country is in the middle of ‘a mental health pandemic’. However, giant media companies won’t allow criticism that may damage their lucrative Government advertising contracts.
JC Decaux, the world’s leading outdoor media company, refused to run Recovery’s posters on the grounds that the Code of Advertising Practice bans political advertising, This is completely untrue. Trafford Council – the owner of the sites Recovery booked near the BBC – also banned it as ‘political’ and refused further explanation. The intention was to place posters near leading broadcasters including the BBC and Sky – but this has been prevented by the ban.
Working with a smaller outdoor media company, Recovery has secured a site for the poster in central London and will also still show it at the BBC via an advertising van which will circle the site.
Results of a new independent poll commissioned from market research experts Yonder by Recovery reveal that the Government’s campaign of fear has had a shocking impact on the mental health of the nation. 15% of respondents reported depression, anxiety, or fear as a direct result of Government pandemic advertising. That’s equivalent to over 8m people.
A further 7% – the equivalent of over 3.6m people – report the advertising has made an existing mental health condition worse: that’s almost 12m people around the country whose mental health has been damaged by an unprecedented Government advertising campaign designed to create fear.