New government ad campaign accused of ‘blatant political advertising’

A new Federal Government advertising campaign is drawing criticism for “blatantly political advertising”  amid suggestions that it may breach the rules around publicly funded government advertising.

(Ad courtesy of Ebiquity)

The TV commercial, which features the Federal Government’s “Plan for Australian Jobs”, promotes Government attempts to “ensure companies give Aussie suppliers a fair go”, “keep jobs here and not overseas,” and “help small businesses grow, which means more jobs.” The ad concludes with the line: “A plan for Australian jobs. Australia works: let’s keep it that way.”

Advertising commentator Rowan Dean, formerly executive creative director for Euro RSCG (now Havas Worldwide), yesterday told Radio 2UE’s Jason Morrison that the advertising campaign was a skirting requirements that government advertisements be information.

“There is a clever trick at play here, the spirit of the law means you can only use taxpayer’s a commercial like this if it is informative,” Dean yesterday told Radio 2UE Drive host Jason Morrison.

“What the government has done here is to come up with a plan, a plan for Australian jobs, and when it comes to the end of the ad you get a line: ‘Australia works let’s keep it that way’, which is as unsubtle a way as you can get for the message: don’t change the government.”

Dean also criticised the Department of Industry website which the TV ad encourages viewers to go and visit noting how it featured a second video fronted by Federal Labor politician Greg Combet, who up until last week was the department minister.

“There’s nothing there but a few flyers and a video with Greg Combet. There’s promise that we are going to this and that but it is really just blatant political advertising.”

Dean conceded to Morrison that the practice had been done by both sides of politics when in government.

“This has been going on for years and year both sides (of politics). There is a role for informational advertising but this is being abused,” he said.

The April numbers on advertising spend in the Australian market suggested spending on government advertising rose 50 per cent in April compared to the same time last year.

The Department of Innovation and Shadow Minister’s office have been approached for comment.

Nic Christensen 


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