Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Questions (74, 76, 84, 85, 86, 87, 109, 110)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

74. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Taoiseach the details of each instance of advertorial content commissioned by his Department and agencies under its remit in the past 12 months; the date this content was published; the purpose of this content; the cost of its publication; and the publication or platform on which it was published in tabular form [11019/18]

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Róisín Shortall

Question:

76. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Taoiseach the details of each instance of advertorial content commissioned by the Strategic Communications Unit since its establishment; the date this content was published; the purpose of this content; the cost of its publication; and the publication or platform on which it was published in tabular form. [11020/18]

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Brendan Howlin

Question:

84. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach the advertisements or advertorials placed by his Department or the Strategic Communications Unit since 1 January 2018, by newspaper or other printed publication; the size of the advert; the cost of each advert; the person that wrote the copy and approved the final advert; if it was an outside agency; the person in his Department that approved the final advert; and the parameters and instructions provided to outside contractors on the placement of adverts. [11022/18]

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Brendan Howlin

Question:

85. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach the amount spent on all cinema and radio advertising placed by his Department or the Strategic Communications Unit since 1 January 2018; the number of adverts placed; the number of times the advert was shown; the radio stations on which it was broadcast; the cinemas in which it was shown; the person responsible for commissioning the content; the person that approved the content; the company that developed the content; the person responsible for booking the content; and the parameters and instructions provided to outside contractors on the placement of adverts. [11023/18]

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Brendan Howlin

Question:

86. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach the amount spent on all social media advertising placed by his Department or the Strategic Communications Unit since 1 January 2018; the cost for each advert placed; the platform that was used; the amount committed in each campaign; the audience that was targeted; the way in which that audience was chosen; the characterisation of the audiences used for social media advertising; the person or body that created the audiences; the person or body that approved the content of the adverts; the person or body that approved the audiences; and the parameters and instructions provided to outside contractors on the placement of those adverts. [11024/18]

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Seán Sherlock

Question:

87. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Taoiseach the amount that has been spent on newspaper advertisements and advertorials since July 2016; the publications these adverts appeared in; and the person that signed off on each advert. [11025/18]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

109. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach the expenditure to date on online content (details supplied) by the strategic communications unit in his Department. [11362/18]

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Catherine Martin

Question:

110. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Taoiseach the amount spent by his Department on advertorial type content since he entered office. [11390/18]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 74, 76, 84 to 87, inclusive, 109 and 110 together.

Advertorials

There were no advertorials commissioned by my Department in 2016 and 2017.

The costs relating to advertorial content commissioned by the SCU in my Department so far in 2018 are listed in the following table:

Media Outlet

Campaign

Costs incurred to date

Date published

Irish Independent

Healthy Ireland

€96,300 ex Vat

3rd February 2018 - Pullout supplement in Irish Independent Weekender magazine

13th/20th/27th January 2018 - Double page spread Irish Independent.

Irish Independent

Action Plan for Education

€8,600 ex Vat

14th February 2018

Irish Times, INM Group, Examiner Group, Journal Media, 30 Regional Papers

Project Ireland 2040

Regional spend €127,575 ex Vat

National spend: €184,923 ex Vat

TOTAL: €312,498 ex Vat

Advertorials appeared in national and regional titles from 23rd February to 28th February

Further detail on campaigns run to date in 2018 as follows:

Healthy Ireland

In order to communicate the aims of the Healthy Ireland 2018 programme, a content partnership was entered into with the Irish Independent - this consisted of three double page features in the Weekender magazine and a 48 page magazine in the Irish Independent.

The purpose of this content partnership was to communicate to as wide an audience as possible the importance of making healthy changes in peoples' lives, consistent with the aims of the Healthy Ireland campaign, which focussed on citizen engagement.

All content was clearly identified as being from 'Healthy Ireland an initiative of the Government of Ireland'.

The relevant editorial team from the Irish Independent produced the content in close consultation with the project team comprising staff from my Department and the Department of Health - the project team signed off on the final content.

Action Plan for Education

The Action Plan for Education was identified and approved as a priority campaign for the Department of Education and Skills. Content for the advertorial came from the Plan and was signed off by officials from the Department of Education and Skills in conjunction with the relevant editorial team from the Irish Independent. The advertorial was clearly identified as the Action Plan for Education in partnership with the Government of Ireland.

Project Ireland 2040

As Project Ireland 2040 is a plan which will impact on all citizens and on future generations, a comprehensive multi-media campaign was developed to ensure citizens are aware of, and informed about the Plan. One aspect of this campaign is a media content partnership with a number of National and Regional media organisations.

These content partnerships were handled through a third party media buyer. The SCU supplied the media buyer with key facts in relation to Project Ireland 2040.

Each media organisation was provided with a link to the full Project Ireland 2040 plan as well as a pack of content relevant to their particular region. The content pack was compiled by the SCU, working with other relevant Government Departments. Nothing was given in the pack that was not otherwise in the overall Project Ireland 2040 plan.

Specific instruction was issued to the media buyer by the SCU that all content should be identified as being 'In Partnership with the Government of Ireland' or 'In Partnership with Project Ireland 2040, an initiative of the Government of Ireland'. The use of the specific Government of Ireland logo was also requested by the SCU. This was to ensure that readers knew that the content was paid for.

The decision relating to editorial style was entirely a matter for each media organisation. The SCU had no input in selecting or contracting any external or third party interviewees. No political spokespeople or Government backbenchers were recommended for interview or for pictures to be included by the SCU in any of the partnerships with regional media organisations. Decisions about what organisations and individuals would be asked for comment or pictured were entirely a matter for each media organisation.

The SCU did not have sign off of the copy produced for the media.

Cinema and Radio Advertising

Cinema advertising relating to Project Ireland 2040 appeared in all screens across the country over a 4 week period, at a total cost of €80,113 ex Vat.

The 60 second video was produced by a creative agency in conjunction with the SCU.

The SCU managed two national radio campaigns since January 2018 - Healthy Ireland 2018 campaign, and the Self Employed Benefits radio campaign. The content for these adverts was produced by the SCU in conjunction with relevant officials from the Department of Health, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the creative agency. The advertising space was booked by the media buying agency and the finished content was supplied to the radio stations by the creative agency. These campaigns were broadcast on all national radio stations.

Costs for the two radio campaigns are as follows:

Healthy Ireland - €104,320.29 ex Vat

Self Employed - €56,132.14 ex Vat

The Project Ireland 2040 campaign is currently under review, with decisions about the implementation of the various elements of the campaign to follow. In that context, there are no current plans to run a radio campaign.

Social Media

The following table lists estimated costs for social media advertising by my Department since 1 January 2018 - advertisements appeared on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and were targeted to all citizens on these platforms:

Campaigns 2018

Social Media Spend (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube)

Other Digital Spend

(Digital Search/Display)

Total (ex Vat)

Education Action Plan 2018

€830.15

Nil

€830.15

Healthy Ireland

€5,989.36

€1,121.24

€7110.60

Irish Aid - Children’s Educational Video (charity abroad)

€1,940.87

Nil

€1,940.87

Self Employed

€2,496.98

Nil

€2,496.98

Project Ireland 2040

€37,583

€38,077

€75,660

Question No. 75 answered with Question No. 73.
Question No. 76 answered with Question No. 74.