Nicola Sturgeon announces extension to Scotland lockdown
The FACTS campaign was launched by the Scottish First Minister in June as Scotland started to emerge from the first COVID-19 lockdown. FACTS, when the campaign initially launched, stood for (Face covering, Avoid Crowds, Clean hands, Two-meter distance, Self-isolate).
But polling commissioned by the Scottish Government revealed most Scots could not identify the safety message reinforced by each letter, forcing the First Minister to relaunch the campaign.
The relaunch involved the SNP led administration spending hundreds of thousands on new adverts including on TV, press, radio and social media with new icons for each of the five letters.
In a letter to MSPs, the Scottish Government said: “We wanted to update you with a relaunch of the new FACTS campaign.
“This new campaign looks to remind people of the five key behaviours that FACTS stand for, and how this should be part of our everyday lives to keep us all safe.”
Figures revealed in a Scottish Government Freedom of Information request reveal a total of £1.61million has been spent on the controversial campaign.
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Some £1.45million had been spent on media alone to communicate the SNP led administration’s message including £468,000 due to the second relaunch.
As well as this, £151,000 was spent on the creative side, including £89,000 during the relaunch.
The polling commissioned by the Scottish Government revealed less than two-thirds (61 percent) understood that F stands for “face coverings”.
As well as this, just over a third (35 percent) were aware that A is a reminder to “avoid crowded places” while just 37 percent knew that C stands for “clean hands”.
Meanwhile, 41 percent of participants correctly identified that T is for “two-metre distance” and 40 percent that S is for “self-isolate”.
A similarly low proportion (37 percent) knew that C stands for “clean hands” and only 41 percent of participants correctly identified that T is for “two metres distancing”.
Fewer than half (46 percent) could name FACTS despite the SNP led administration constantly naming it during briefings.
However, when prompted by an interviewer, 88 percent said they had heard of it.
Donald Cameron MSP, Scottish Conservative Health spokesperson, told Express.co.uk: “We know from the Scottish Government’s own polling that their FACTS message has not struck a chord with the public who have found it confusing to remember.
“The fact that this amount of money has been spent on a muddled campaign appears to have been a misguided approach especially when it has not had the desired effect.
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“As we continue to do everything we can to suppress the virus, the Scottish Government must guarantee clear and consistent public health messages will be delivered at all times.”
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “These ad campaigns should not see Scots’ money wasted.
“While it’s critical that Covid rules are communicated clearly to the public, taxpayers need to know that every penny is being properly spent.”
It comes as the UK recorded its deadliest day in the coronavirus pandemic, as the Government’s chief scientific adviser warned parts of the NHS were like a “war zone”.
Official figures showed that January 12 saw the highest number of deaths recorded on a single day – with 1,110 COVID-19 fatalities, eclipsing the previous peak of 1,073 on April 8, 2020.
In response, a Scottish Government spokesperson, said: “These campaigns play a vital role in reducing the spread of coronavirus, protecting the NHS, and saving lives.”
“More than 85 percent of people who have seen or heard the FACTS campaign say they have taken action as a result.”
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