Making public sector advertising work harder for your organisation


On average, the UK’s public sector spends a total of £1.8 billion on advertising and awareness campaigns every year. A range of sectors across government have created some highly creative and effective campaigns. We have a wealth of experience in providing out of home solutions for the public sector and this blog post will explore our favourite best practice examples as well as the benefits of this form of advertising.

Police and crimecrimestoppers

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, the words “discreet” and “advertising” aren’t often seen together. However, when it comes to public service communications surrounding crime, discreet formats can be incredibly effective. Unlike communication formats like leaflets, ticket advertising gives your target audience a reason for having the information and puts contact details directly into their hands.

Whether discreet or not, advertising and awareness raising is crucial to helping the police and organisations like Crimestoppers. According to Crimestoppers data, around 14 people are arrested every day as a result of the public giving information to the organisation, and at least 23% of all information helps police deliver outcomes and prevent crimes. Without awareness and a great call to action through advertising, Crimestoppers would not be able to achieve these results.

We regularly work with Crimestoppers to deliver hard-hitting campaigns that grab audiences’ attention, as well as working with police departments to deliver discreet messages regarding sensitive issues, such as domestic abuse.

Blood and organ donors

Over the years, the blood and organ donation services have released a number of campaigns in order to encourage new donor sign ups. Our favourites include The Missing Type campaign and #BleedForEngland.

The Missing Type campaign used OOH advertising in a highly creative and engaging way with the overall campaign working effectively across multiple media channels. The campaign, which saw some of the UK’s biggest brands getting involved, removing the letters A, B and O from their logos, signs and messaging in order to raise awareness of the need for different blood types. This campaign encouraged 30,000 new donors to register, saving a potential total of 100,000 lives. The campaign was, and continues to be, such a success, due to it’s integrated approach, utilising a number of different formats and platforms. These included asking brands and influencers to get involved in the campaign, using social media, out of home marketing and print formats to ensure the message was seen by as many potential donors as possible.

The #BleedForEngland campaign was also a success, with 101,295 new donors registered in the Rugby World Cup period. This campaign is a great example of a successful social media strategy. Running alongside one of the biggest sporting events of the year, #BleedForEngland capitalised on the trending topic to gain traction for the campaign. The campaign also made use of a number of influencers, in the form of the England rugby team, showing them participating in the campaign.

We have assisted councils and organisations in a number of public health campaigns and have seen great results. This winter health campaign reached thousands of local people via bus ticket advertising with simple yet effective messaging.

Sustainable travel schemes

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As concerns regarding climate change and the environment continue to increase, focus on sustainable travel options is increasing. The promotion of car sharing, bike use and public transport have resulted in a number of successful sustainable transport schemes, which have supported the initiative as well as supporting local businesses and communities.

With a focus on reducing the UK’s carbon emissions, the government has put aside £300 million to help local authorities support schemes and campaigns related to sustainable travel. School related campaigns have proved effective, with 377 schools involved in the BikeIt scheme in West Sussex alone.

Reading Borough Council is another authority to have noticed a positive impact from sustainable travel schemes; the town has created 7,200 extra bus trips, 12,050 daily walks and 2,300 daily cycle trips, reducing CO2 emissions by around 29,000 tonnes.

Our work with Hartlepool Council also proved a great success, helping the area to encourage sustainable travel options to a variety of audiences.

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Key success factors

So, what do all these successful campaigns have in common? Whatever, the sector, an integrated marketing mix, along with key influencers and engaging OOH formats provided the buzz the causes needed to get them off the ground. Public sector messaging will always relevant to the greater public so communicating key messages that stick in the minds of audiences, whoever and wherever they are, will always be important.

Are you looking to engage with the public through advertising? We have a strong track record of delivering highly effective public sector campaigns and would be delighted to help you make a difference. Get in touch today to discuss how we can help you spread the word.

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If you want to know more, please get in touch with us now on 0800 0286778.

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