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MAS claims ad campaign led to spike in users

by Alex Steger on Feb 12, 2013 at 10:54

MAS claims ad campaign led to spike in users

Over 2.5 million people have used the Money Advice Service (MAS) since it launched in 2011, with 500,000 of these coming in the last quarter of 2012, largely as result of its high-profile advertising campaign.

Karen Broughton, MAS marketing and service delivery director, said the surge in the last quarter of 2012 was in part due to its advertising campaign which launched in September 2012.

MAS has attracted criticism for setting aside £20 million to spend on marketing, of which around £5 million was spent on its recent TV ad.

The organisation claimed the figures showed that demand for its service was increasing. The MAS also published the results of a survey which showed improved levels customer satisfaction.

A survey by the organisation showed that eight out of 10 MAS customers said it had provided them with the information they needed, with seven out of 10 saying it helped them decide on a course of action, and 88% claiming that they would use the service again.

Broughton acknowledged the organisation had endured a difficult start ‘with all sorts of headlines’ but said the rise in numbers and survey results showed the organisation was now delivering on its targets.

‘Away from all the noise we have seen some positive results,’ she said.

It said 495,000 action plans were written as a result of its ‘advice’, and Broughton said she was optimistic it would hit its target of one million plans written by March 2013.

MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes (pictured), said she was encouraged by the number of people using the service.

‘Given the tough economic times, it's really important we keep evolving what we do,’ she said. ‘And this will enable us to help more and more people - for all the benefits that brings in terms of financial security, peace of mind and quality of life.’

12 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Sam De Zoysa

Feb 12, 2013 at 11:18

"A survey by the organisation showed that eight out of 10 MAS customers said it had provided them with the information they needed, with seven out of 10 saying it helped them decide on a course of action, and 88% claiming that they would use the service again."

I don't have clue what that means. I appreciate that this is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted but how about this? Putting a well qualified, salaried IFA in an existing, well-known organisation, say the CAB?I 'd wager it would cost half as much and be twice as effective in improving the finances of the target demographic.

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Julian Stevens

Feb 12, 2013 at 11:30

But, of those 495,000 action plans, how many have actually been acted upon?

If the proportion is very small (and if it was anything but very small, one assumes the MAS would proudly trumpet the fact), then the Benefits to Costs ratio just doesn't stack up, does it?

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Feb 12, 2013 at 11:39

Could not agree more with Sam De Zoysa.

The survey results are only for those THAT TOOK PART, probably about 2% of all visitors. I don't know of many individuals or organisations in my industry that supports the MAS. Fancy salaries, fancy adverts and fancy figures.

Should have diverted the 5 million cost of the advertising to the CAB.

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John Burchett

Feb 12, 2013 at 11:39

The benefit of such a service can never be quantified. I suspect that the "satisfied" customers were in the main requiring budgetry and debt advice.

Just another social service that we are paying for.

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Bob Donaldson

Feb 12, 2013 at 11:52

I also go to various websites but it doesn't mean to say that I act on the advice given.

What is the cost of advertising relative to the number of people who actually benefit from the service.

As someone else has said probably unquantifiable whereas we can quantify our service and the cost of it.

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Feb 12, 2013 at 11:55

My issue being I would love to be able to afford a media campiagn, but cannot charge MAS or any other adviser or Financial Services Company to run mine for me.

Funny old world.

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Paul Barnard

Feb 12, 2013 at 12:28

I actually contacted them on their "webchat" service yesterday as I was checking some research on care fees, so I thought I would pose the question (a quite simple one) and see what happened. The answer I received was that as they could only give general advice, specific advice like this could only be provided by a regulated adviser and recommended AgeUK who, of course, are not independent anyway.

I did point out that my query WAS general (relating to the setting aside of the home when part of a couple etc), but then she replied that I sould contact someone else and cut me off.

If they only want to give debt and budgetary advice then why have all the sections on things like LTC etc, only to refer them to a tied agent?

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Feb 12, 2013 at 13:34

They should not be able to provide any recommendation to any one provider or adviser sector.

What they should do is recommend the consumer finds a regulated financial adviser or Accountant or Solictor is needed, offering guidance on what they should look for.

As I have stated before, MAS is needed, what is incorrect is how it is funded, which should be by Government not the industry.

The current funding arrangement means we are funding a website that effectively reduces our own marketing ability, then advises and recommends our competitors.


When the Conservative Party starts paying for Labours literature and political campaigns I will accept this injustice, until then I will never be convinced this is not infringing my human rights, as if I do not pay I cannot be regulated.

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Ric Green

Feb 12, 2013 at 14:30

I actually think the MAS is doing a reasonable job in a very challenging remit. There is clearly a need for this sort of service and hopefully coupled with increased understanding and financial awareness, in years to come we will have whole batch of people who will be able to reach the conclusion of just how important financial advisers are and go out and seek one.

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Jonathan Kirby

Feb 12, 2013 at 16:29

How many of their hits are from members of the public?

Although it has degenerated to such an extent that I don't bother with it any more, at one time I used to go there for quick annuity facts for comparisons in suitability reports which (hopefully) couldn't be argued with as coming from an impartial source and it was at least useful in giving various different types with just one in-put.

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Certified Professional Stander

Feb 12, 2013 at 17:12

I saw one of Ma's adverts the other night.

The ad before it was for Foxy bingo.com.

The ad after it was for a payday loan company - APR 2050% or something.

I felt a bit sorry for Ma. However good her intentions on financial education for the general public, she does seem to have a fight on her hands.

It made me wonder whether the better solution would be to ban the other two adverts, or even not show all three of them.

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Paul Barnard

Feb 12, 2013 at 19:03

Agree 100% on the comments re gambling and legalised loan sharking.

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