“Let's Call Periods, Periods” marketing campaign: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

Information on the new government campaign Let's Call Periods, Periods.

  • How much money has been spent on the entire marketing campaign ‘Let’s Call Periods Periods’?
  • Please include all monies from all policy departments and all parts of marketing budget allocated to research, insight gathering, creative testing, creation of all marketing assets including cinema advertising, social media visuals and content, PR, and evaluation.
  • Please include agency fees, production and advertising spend, including all digital optimisation and advertising.
  • Please release all correspondence between Ministerial offices, policy departments, news/press office and marketing about the need for, and conception of this campaign.
  • Please estimate the number of days civil servants, including temporary marketing / communications staff, have worked to bring this campaign to fruition.
  • Please release all information on why the agency, Union, was chosen, how many other agencies tendered for the work and who they were.


The final costs related to the period stigma campaign won’t be known until the campaign is complete and financial reconciliation has taken place. However, the budget currently allocated to the campaign is £202,108.48. This can be broken down as per the below table (with the respective agencies detailed in brackets):

Research, creative development and testing (Union)


Primary insight gathering


Creative development


Creative testing


Creative refinement and production (Union) 


Young Scot partnership (Union)


PR (Stripe Communications) 


Media planning & buying:










Big Issue




Evaluation (progressive)


Total (excluding VAT)


Please note that the allocation under Media Planning and Buying includes social media advertising of £22,780.38. Digital optimisation of the paid-for media advertising occurs constantly throughout the campaign’s duration. This falls under Republic of Media’s remit and within their fees. The PR allocation above includes launch event costs of £1,370 and an allocation of £6,850 for social media visuals and content. Contingency spend will be allocated during the campaign to up-weight channels which are performing most effectively, in order to maximise overall campaign performance.

The production allocation under ‘Creative refinement and production’ includes the creation of all marketing assets by the Union, including the cost of the Union producing the marketing assets for cinema advertising, social media visuals and content. These cannot be split out further by channel due to the overlapping nature of the marketing assets e.g. the 30 second video that was produced by the Union was used for cinema advertising and digital advertising.

You requested information on agency fees. An exemption applies here under section 33(1)(b) (Commercial Interest) of FOISA. This exemption applies because it is likely to prejudice substantially the commercial interest of the bidders and the Scottish Government.
As this exemption is conditional, I have applied the 'public interest test' to the information. This means I have, in all circumstances of the case, considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the exemption. I have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. I recognise there is a public interest in having transparent tendering processes. On the other hand, commercially sensitive information will be made public, and it is likely that would damage the commercial interests of the companies whose information is released. This, in turn, could mean that the Scottish Government may be unable to generate genuine and effective competitive tendering processes, and that, in my view, would not be in the public interest.

I have included a pack with all the relevant correspondence you requested dealing with the need and conception of the campaign. Please note I have redacted a small amount of information because section 38(1)(b) (Personal Information) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because some of the information requested is personal data of a third party (i.e. names/contact details of individuals), and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. The correspondence is summarised in the table below.

You asked how many days civil servants worked on the campaign. The Scottish Government does not keep a record of staff time spent on individual pieces of work. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.  Officials work on a number of different policy areas and workstreams simultaneously and so it is not possible to calculate time spent on the campaign.

You asked why the agency, Union, was chosen for the campaign and how many other agencies tendered for the work. The work was tendered following the call-off procedures of the Creative Services Framework (reference: SP-18-008) and the following agencies tendered: Union, Stand and Story.


Document Number

Document Details

Document Dates


Exchange between SG policy and marketing sharing background information on period poverty data sources

24 April 2019-10 May 2019


SG internal exchanges sharing information on period poverty data and funding and initial mapping/segmentation work.

Includes calendar invite

10 May 2019 – 30 May 2019


Exchange on Zero Waste Reusable Products Campaign

31 May 2019 – 5 June 2019


Further exchanges on No. 3

31 May 2019 – 5 June 2019


SG exchange on policy objectives of campaign (See No. 11)

11 June 2019


SG exchange on policy brief for campaign

31 May 2019 – 7 June 2019


SG exchange on policy brief

12 June 2019


SG further exchanges on policy brief

31 May 2019 – 12 June 2019


SG exchange on comms

29 May-13 June 2019


SG exchange on policy brief

12 June-13 June 2019


SG Policy Brief on Campaign

12 June 2019


Marketing support request


About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

FOI-202000014528 Information released


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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