Girls Make Your Move influencer campaign under Auditor General scrutiny in government ad spend review

The controversial Girls Make your Move influencer campaign is to be examined by the Auditor General in a review of the federal government’s advertising guidelines.

The $3.9m Girls Make Your Move campaign came under fire for spending over $600,000 on influencers during the 18 months it ran from May 2016 and resulted in the federal government banning the use of influencers.

One of the Girls Make Your Move influencer posts

Federal government advertising campaigns worth over $250,000 are administered by rules determined by the Department of Finance and their compliance is signed off by department heads. In the case of Girls Make Your Move, it had been signed off by then Health Department head, Martin Bowles, in February 2016.

In its review, the Australian National Audit Office will assess the effectiveness of the Department of Finance’s and departments’ implementation of the government’s campaign advertising framework.

Along with Girls Make Your Move, the ANAO will also be examining the $6.9m Energy for the Future campaign, also known as Powering Forward, and the $11.1m National Child Care Reforms campaign.

The ANAO’s review is open for public submissions until the 28 February, with the report to be released before the middle of the year.

Major federal government advertising spending last financial year topped $157m, up by more than 50% on the previous year, with the $60m defence force recruiting push being the largest individual campaign.

In 2016, the Ad Standards CEO Fiona Jolly called for the industry body to have a role in vetting government advertising for partisan bias. This idea was never adopted.

Prior to 2010, the Auditor General was responsible for providing independent reviews of government adverting, however this was abolished by the Rudd Labor government and replaced with the existing system which sees the Department of Finance overseeing expenditure.

Those responsibilities include running the Central Advertising System which centralises media buying in a contract currently held by UM. Dentsu X previously held the account for four years.


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