Costs of Scottish Government advertising campaigns: FOI release

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

Information requested

"Could you please notify me as to how much the Scottish government has paid for all of their advertisements in the press, radio and television? Of particular interest would be the total cost that the Scottish Government has paid to Scottish Television for this purpose."

Following clarification, you requested “I would be interested in receiving information from January 2018 to the present.”


We have provided below links to the Scottish Government published spend for financial years 2017/18 to 2021/21. The media spend is published on an annual basis, broken down by financial year.

The total marketing spend to date for this financial year 2021/22, up to 18 November, is:

Cinema £11,326.58
Editorial Platforms £6,277.84
Fees £30,745.47
Internet £2,672,618.72
Outdoor £1,603,981.32
Press £123,233.42
Radio £1,583,616.55
TV £2,909,016.01
TOTAL £8,940,815.91

Regarding the question of the total cost that the Scottish Government has paid to Scottish Television, whilst our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information requested because an exemption under section 33 of FOISA applies. This is because disclosure of the information would (or would be likely to) substantially prejudice the commercial interests of the organisation (section 33(1)(b)).

All Scottish Government media buying and planning is undertaken 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 showing the volume of media purchased by their competitors. Providing the costs alongside this available data would therefore enable competitors to determine the buying rates (price) for individual media companies. This information is highly commercially sensitive within the sector and disclosure would materially disadvantage the Scottish Government contractor. Providing the specific expenditure with STV 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.

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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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