MAS halts TV ads as it cuts marketing budget by a third

The Money Advice Service will no longer run TV advertising campaigns, says chief executive Caroline Rookes as the organisation slashes its marketing budget by a third.

The MAS’s 2015/16 business plan, published last week, revealed its marketing spend for money advice services has been cut from £13.2m in 2014/15 to £8.8m.

The FCA confirmed at the end of March that the MAS’s total budget for money advice services for 2015/16 had been cut by 21 per cent to £34.1m. The budget for debt advice services has increased by 36 per cent to £47m, leaving its total budget unchanged at £81.1m.

Speaking to Mortgage Strategy’s sister title, Money Marketing, Rookes says: “We have reduced our marketing spend because we want to be as efficient as we can. We have found that as we have increased our reach, people are getting to know us so we don’t need to spend as much on marketing.

“Also, we have come under criticism for our marketing budget.”

Last month, a Treasury-commissioned review of the MAS carried out by Christine Farnish recommended it cut its money advice budget in half and radically overhaul its structure.

Asked whether the MAS would continue to run TV and radio marketing campaigns, Rookes says: “You are unlikely to see TV advertising from us. 

“We may continue with radio but we are trying to communicate specific messages rather than just saying ‘We are here’.”

The MAS will also reduce its spend on printed guides from £1.1m in 2014/15 to £350,000. But its budget for corporate communications and public relations will increase from £887,000 to £945,000.

The MAS says it will reduce the scope of, or stop developing, services that are duplicated by other organisations.