§ Mr. Austin Mitchell
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the cost of his Department's hoax advertisement published in national newspapers on 1 April; and if he will indicate what purpose it served; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. David Hunt
This advertisement was placed inThe Times and Guardian at a cost of £18,000. It was one of a number of energy efficiency advertisements scheduled to appear in April and May. The advertisement was designed to gain public interest and jolt inertia.
Advertisements placed in these publications on April 1 are always likely to attract special attention and be closely read and the Department saw an opportunity to get extra value for its advertising spend. The advertisement attracted a significantly higher number of requests for energy efficiency information than is obtained on average in response to the Department's normal press advertisement.