The Advertising Standards Authority is a much maligned industry body. But should it cease to exist the government would take over its role.
So when ASA wanted a campaign to put its side of the story Barnes Catmur & Friends rose to the challenge.
The SMP was to show the industry: You don’t know how lucky you are.
So Barnes Catmur and Friends invented a fictitious government department and set out to demonstrate how bad life could be under such a department.
They sent letters to key industry figures with a list of complaints about one of their ads and then directed them to the website of the Department of Advertising Standards and Regulations where further complaints were listed. This was then followed up with an email, which could be forwarded on.
These communications drew 2,830 visitors to the site and feedback from this and direct to the ASA has been overwhelming supportive.
The target of engaging the industry as a whole with minimal cost was met.
It was all about “don’t tell, involve”.