COVID-19 cost of targeted advertisement: FOI release

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

Information requested

1. The amount of money spent by the Scottish Government on advertising campaigns encouraging the public to accept a Covid-19 vaccine when offered it, from December 2020 to the date of this request.

2. Breakdown by month and medium (eg TV, Google, Facebook, Twitter, radio, print).

3. Breakdown by spend per targeted campaign, eg ethnic minorities, under 30s etc.


1. The Scottish Government spend on the Covid-19 Vaccine is £2,969,407 as at the end of July 2021, which includes advertising running up until 10 August 2021. This expenditure covers research, production and media space costs which have been delivered in collaboration between the Scottish
Government and Public Health Scotland. This figure also includes the cost for the national door drop across Scotland on the Covid-19 vaccine during January 2021.

2. The expenditure relating to medium is broken down as follows:
By Media

Media Channel Total
TV £888,082
INTERNET £300,207
POSTER £178,995
PRESS £207,934
RADIO £253,575
FACEBOOK £68,581
GOOGLE £49,928
TWITTER £10,410
Total £1,957,712

By Media and Month
Phase 1 – 21 January 2021 to 31 March 2021

Media Channel April May June
TV £71,534 £177,656 £191,041
INTERNET £13,000 £67,498 £48,577
OUT OF HOME £91,995 £31,000 £-
RADIO £30,344 £61,081 £-
FACEBOOK £2,533 £8,787 £11,433
GOOGLE £1,134 £17,191 £15,444
TWITTER £- £- £235

Phase 3 - 7 July 2021 to 10 August 2021

Media Channel July
TV £16,939
INTERNET £71,087
RADIO £21,489
FACEBOOK £23,608
GOOGLE £1,390

3. There have been three phases of activity targeting particular audiences as follows.

Phase 1: this covered cohorts 1-9 as set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). This phase was active from 21 January 2021 to 31 March 2021. The cohorts were:
1. Residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults
2. All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
3. All those 75 years of age and over
4. All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals (not including pregnant women and those under 16 years of age)
5. All those 65 years of age and over
6. Adults aged 16 to 65 years in an at-risk group and unpaid carers
7. All those 60 years of age and over
8. All those 55 years of age and over
9. All those 50 years of age and over

Phase 2: this phase covered those under the age of 50 and messaging to encourage all age groups to get their second dose. Campaign active from 20 April to 30 June.

The targeting for this campaign changed over time based upon when different age groups were to start receiving their vaccination invitations. The initial focus was on those aged 40+ and gradually this age range shifted over the period of the campaign.

Phase 3: this phase covered audiences who had concerns about getting the vaccine and involved using the Vaccine Explainer content which had been developed in collaboration with Ethnic Minorities groups to address key concerns identified about the vaccine. This phase ran from 7 July 2021 to 10 August 2021.

Please note owing to the limited number of media channels which support advertising to ethnic minorities in Scotland, our approach for this target audience has been to work with stakeholders and community groups to reach this section of the Scottish population. However, activity through mass audience channels do impact on ethnic minorities. Evaluation of phase 2 of the Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign reported that ethnic minorities were more likely to have seen the campaign through multiple channels, were more engaged with the campaign and more likely to report taking action than the mail sample. These actions included word of mouth as well as actions relating to getting the vaccine themselves.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, we are unable to supply a breakdown by spend per targeted campaign because an exemption under section 33 of FOISA applies to that information as disclosure would (or would be likely to) prejudice substantially the commercial interests of any person or organisation (section 33(1)(b));

All Scottish Government media buying and planning is delivered via agencies appointed through the Media planning buying and associated services 2019 to 2023 framework, and never directly with media owners or channels.

Using standard media buying software common to the sector, media buying agencies can access data on the volume of media purchased by their competitors. Providing the detailed cost of this media alongside this would therefore enable competitors to determine the buying rates (price) for individual media companies. This information is commercially sensitive within the sector and disclosure would materially disadvantage the Scottish Government contractor. Providing the specific expenditure broken down by media owners and campaign would allow competitors of the media buying agency to calculate the rates negotiated by the appointed media buying agency who work on behalf of the Scottish Government. This would commercially compromise the media buying agency.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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