The prime minister Tony Blair's pledge to improve adult literacy
and numeracy is at the forefront of St Luke's £4 million campaign
for COI Communications' Department for Education and Skills.
The new campaign for the DfES addresses the first pledge in this year's
New Labour election manifesto. It will aim to appeal to adults with
literacy and numeracy problems by removing any sense of personal fault,
while encouraging them to act.
The campaign introduces gremlins - played by actors in prosthetics and
dressed in boiler suits - to represent the embarrassment and frustration
people feel over their poor basic skills.
In one spot, a woman is holding a magazine in her friend's kitchen, and
is embarrassed when the friend asks her to read an article. As she
searches desperately for a diversion, various gremlins pop out to laugh
at her discomfort.
In another ad, a man is laying down a carpet, but because of his poor
numeracy skills he has misjudged the length needed. Again, a gremlin
appears to mock his incompetence.
The campaign will run across TV, press and radio.
Seyoan Vela, a creative director at St Luke's, said: "The accepted view
is that illiteracy is a very sensitive subject and any advertising
should be about making people feel better about themselves. But research
showed that we have to make them feel uncomfortable about their
illiteracy while still engaging them - it's the only thing that
The campaign was written and art directed by Vela and Colin
It was directed by David Hartley at Stark Films. Media planning is by
Manning Gottlieb Media and buying is by MediaCom.