The Government's £7 million drive to urge the public to combat climate change was branded a failure this week by an influential group of MPs.
The MPs urged ministers to boost the budget and to run a high-profile campaign, similar to those on drink-driving and speeding, showing people how simple actions such as switching off lights when they leave a room could cut carbon emissions.
The Labour-dominated Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Select Committee warned that campaigns like Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's "Are You Doing Your Bit?" effort last year would fail to change people's behaviour. "In many cases, their profiles are low and their messages ineffective, largely as a result of inadequate funding," said its report. "A sophisticated and targeted approach is required to change people's behaviour along with a much greater commitment from Government to doing its bit."
The MPs said the ad campaign had been undermined by frequent press reports revealing the environmentally-damaging behaviour of government departments and ministers.
Jill Johnstone, the Council's head of policy, said: "Consumers are getting too many messages, slightly conflicting messages from too many different sources, and they cannot pick up what the really big issues are. Much of our research has found that people are concerned about air pollution issues and toxic waste but they find it very difficult to deal with climate change."
Andrew Bennett, the committee's Labour chairman, admitted none of its members had heard about the campaign until it was mentioned by a witness to its inquiry into Britain's climate change programme.