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I recently wrote about the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) collaborating with Channel 4’s popular program Gogglebox. In an exclusive I can now reveal that this single two minute advert cost us the taxpayer a staggering £315,000.
The DWP are being accused of wasting taxpayer cash as it has emerged they paid the production company of the popular Channel 4 show Gogglebox £315,000.
I submitted a Freedom of Information request on March 23rd using the website WhatDoTheyKnow.com. In my request I asked the Department for Work and Pensions;
“I am writing to request how much was paid to the production company of Channel 4 programme Gogglebox for their collaboration with you.
“This is in regards to the collaboration with Gogglebox which was promoted by Amber Rudd and also your Director of Communications The service advertised was the workplace pension.
“Furthermore, I request to know if any DWP input was given on the scripting of this advert. Were the participants told or briefed in anyway about the workplace pension prior to filming?”
Today, April 5th, the DWP have replied with a full response to the questions I asked.
In response to my request for the cost of the advert, a spokesperson from the DWP’s FOI team said;
“The production company of Channel 4 programme Gogglebox was paid £315,000 for their work with DWP.”
If you see my previous article on this, you will see that Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd MP proudly boasted about the Gogglebox advert.
When Universal Credit claimants are suffering and WASPI women are having to rearrange their retirement because of DWP blunders, it is astonishing it was thought over £300,000 was a suitable cost for just one advert.
In response to my second point regarding the department’s input in the script of the piece, they said;
“Gogglebox features real families not actors and their conversations are unscripted.
“However, as with any commission regarding communications activity, DWP provided Gogglebox’s production company with context and background information – in this case about the Workplace Pension campaign.”
So while the DWP claim to have had no direct input with the making of the advert, there’s nothing to say the programs producers didn’t tell those taking part what to say.
I contacted the Production Company for Gogglebox for comment but had received no response at the time of writing this article.
After the initial broadcast many people aired their disappointment at Channel 4 for working with the DWP.
Some thought it was misleading the way that it was staged as it gave the impression it was off the cuff rather than a paid advertisement.
Either way the production company are £315,000 better off for what would have been a relatively easy piece to film. Over £100,000 a minute isn’t bad even in the inflated world of advertisement.
Do you think it is acceptable the government paid £315,000 for one single TV advert?