It’s good to see at least one sector of our shell-shocked economy is having a good recession. I mean: those agencies and media outlets lucky enough to benefit from government marcoms budgets.
A peek at the Central Office of Information annual report and accounts 2008/09 reveals eye-popping growth that would have put the Chinese economy to shame during the soaraway years.
Expenditure on advertising accounted for £211m, an increase of ‘only’ 35%. But, wait for it, as a proportion of the COI’s overall turnover, advertising continues to decline. So that’s all right then.
The global figure is in fact £540m, up 43% on last year. Not that last year was exactly a period of hair-shirt austerity. I seem to remember a 16% growth figure.
Whichever way you look at these figures (the COI understandably prefers to emphasise a 50% saving in media costs, so God knows what they might otherwise have been), this surge is difficult to shrug off. To be sure, government departments have busied themselves with the eternal verities of obesity, smoking, road safety and climate change as never before. But the bigger picture is a looming general election.
Not that I would ever, for a moment, suggest COI expenditure is a form of political propaganda.