Government extends campaign for the single European currency

- The Government is to give TBWA GGT Simons Palmer a vote of confidence by extending its £4.5 million drive to persuade British businessmen to prepare for the launch of the single European currency.

- The Government is to give TBWA GGT Simons Palmer a vote of confidence by extending its £4.5 million drive to persuade British businessmen to prepare for the launch of the single European currency.

The Treasury is planning a new burst of ads this January, when 11 other European Union countries will join the Euro and the Government will publish a National Changeover Plan outlining what Britain needs to do to take part.

Although no budget has yet been fixed, ministers are so delighted with the first phase of the campaign that they may allocate a further £2 million to it.

The new ads are likely to feature Martin Skinner, the abrasive businessman who lectures his staff about the Euro in the TV commercials and unveils his personal slogan: "perfect planning prevents pathetic performance."

The Government has already exceeded its target of persuading 160,000 of the country's small and medium sized firms to respond by requesting an information pack, 10 per cent of the total number of these companies. Officials hope the figure will reach 180,000.

A £3.2 million TV campaign in September was followed by a £400,000 press and radio push and a £400,000 mailshot to 1.6 million companies.

Although the use of the manic boss was seen as risky, the Government is delighted it opted for it ahead of TBWA's alternative of vox pop interviews with businessmen, which was also put into research.

"The response has been excellent," said Peter Buchanan, director of marketing communications at the Central Office of Information. "We did a lot of research among small firms and businessmen saw the character as a caricature not to be taken too seriously."

The Tories this week accused ministers of trying to take Britain into the single currency "by stealth" after bombarding the public with the pro-Euro propaganda. "The campaign is a complete waste of money" said John Redwood, the Shadow Industry Secretary. "The British people are much too sensible to fall for it."



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