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Advertiser-funded programming - Beat: Life On The Street

Provided by ITV
ITV raise awareness and understanding of the role of PCSOs through an ad-funded programme that created contacts on a mass scale

What was the Challenge / Background of the Campaign?

Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) used to get a bad press. They were dubbed "plastic policemen" by some sectors of the media (a reference to their limited powers), and communicating their real value was a tough job. Research identified that the campaign should focus on increasing the value that people put on the role of PCSOs. The challenge was to use media to create 'virtual meetings' between PCSOs and a wider cross-section of the public. Manning Gottlieb OMD worked with OMD Fuse & ITV to create an ad-funded programme that would create new contacts on a mass scale.

What was the Campaign Objective?

To raise awareness and understanding of the role of PCSOs among the general public, as well as generating enquiries from potential recruits.

What was the Solution?

Beat: Life On The Street followed real PCSOs and showed their work alongside the regular police and their contacts with public. It was the first time the Home Office had funded programming, and also the first ad-funded show to run in peaktime in the UK. The TV content was also leveraged via PR in the TV listings titles and local newspapers. The stars of the show were heavily promoted with live webchats on Local DJs went out on the beat with PCSOs, and DVDs of the show have been created for potential recruits.

What were the Results?

The first episode in the six-part series aired at 6pm on 29 October 2006 and the show attracted an average audience of 2.8m. The show and associated activity delivered real and substantial change in consumer attitudes to PCSOs. The public value of PSCOs soared from an average of 28% to 62% for consumers who had watched Beat: Life On The Street. Interest in signing up as a PCSO rose from 8% among non-viewers to 30% among viewers. The cumulative audience for the show was 14m adults, and each show delivered 30 adult TVRs for the cost of just 100 Adult TVRs 30-second spots.

What were the Key Learnings of this Campaign?

Research showed that the show delivered £18 worth of value for every £1 spent on the production. The show was also repeated in July 2007, delivering further value for the Home Office. "The fact that ITV repeated Beat... and has commissioned a second series says everything about the success of the campaign. The media value generated meant it was a highly effective use of taxpayers' money. The campaign achieved its objectives of improving the public's perception of PCSOs and had a significant impact on their recruitment." Cerys Adams, Head of Marketing, Home Office.

BudgetReach & FrequencyTarget AudienceMedia Used
Contact for detailsThe show attracted an average audience of 2.8m
25 - 34
35 - 44
Campaign LocationCampaign DurationMarketing ObjectiveCampaign Type
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