DM outstrips press in election adspend

Labour and the Conservatives spent more on direct mail than press advertising in a big change of strategy in the run-up to the general election.

Nielsen Media Research figures show that since January, the Tories spent £1.39 million on mailshots, reflecting their decision to concentrate efforts in about 160 marginal seats. They spent £742,400 on press ads through Immediate Sales, with a heavy bias on regional newspapers until the last few days of the campaign.

Labour, too, spent more on direct mail (£557,500) than on TBWA\London's press ads (£424,400). Unlike the Tories, Labour spent more heavily in national than regional press.

Banc, the Liberal Democrats' agency, had the biggest budget for a third party since the SDP-Liberal Alliance in the 80s, spending £310,000 on press, mainly in national papers, and £22,400 on mailshots.

- Feature, page 26.