£100 million campaign to advertise a no-deal Brexit in October is 'probably too late'

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:43 02 August 2019

Anti Brexit demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament in London. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

Anti Brexit demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament in London. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

PR experts have warned that the government's new iniaitive to advertise a no-deal Brexit might have come too late to have an impact in October.

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Approximately £100 million will be spent in the coming months to advise the public and businesses on an October 31st departure from the EU.

But one specialist fears there is not enough time for it to have an impact.

Ben Askins, managing director of specialist digital marketing agency Verb Brands told PA: "It's a huge amount of money to invest, the biggest spend on a UK government PR drive since the Second World War.

"The government might go down the traditional channels, TV and print, but I think it is likely it will want to go after digital - I think that will have the biggest impact.

"The key thing here, though, is to get a consistent message. It's no use trying to target different areas with different messages.

"The government needs to decide on its message and stick to it - even if it won't necessarily please everyone.

"Soundbites might not wash either - the government needs to state: this is our position, this is why, and this is what we will do.

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"But three months is not actually a very long time to run an effective campaign - there is a lot to get done, messages to be agreed, several complications.

"Usually you're looking at three months before there's any impact.

"There has to be a journey. The government cannot expect there to be one advert and then think 'job done'."

Askins said the government should also think twice about recruiting celebrities or influencers to help promote its message.

He said: "When it comes to advertising, the celebrity will have to be relevant.

"Somebody from Have I Got News For You?, for example, might work because they are known in a political setting.

"But a celebrity for the sake of it will probably be spotted a mile off by the public and have a negative effect on the message."

A government spokesman said: "It is paramount that organisations, communities and citizens have the right information and support as the UK leaves the EU on October 31.

"That's why we will launch a large scale public information campaign setting out what business and the public need to know as we prepare to leave the EU."

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