Thursday, March 20, 2008

Advertising a Cleaner Kent


Clean Kent appears, on the face of it, to be an excellent initiative by the County Council, twelve district councils and various other Kent based organisations. Its aim is to reduce litter, graffiti and flytipping throughout the County. So far so good. But every night when I get home to Tonbridge Station I walk by a giant billboard poster in the car park (see above) which tells me that John & Ollie are my local heroes, keeping Kent clean. I'm delighted that John and Ollie are keeping Kent clean. I pay a lot of Council Tax to help them do just that. What I do not wish to pay Council Tax for is to fund expensive billboard advertising campaigns on a completely meaningless statement. These billboards normally cost upwards of £700 a month and from the Cleaner Kent website it's quite clear that the billboards are being paid for all over the County. I've no idea how much this advertising campaign is costing, but whether it's £750 or £75,000, I'm sure I am not alone in thinking that the money would be better spent keeping the streets clean, rather than telling us that the streets are cleaner.

The Clean Kent website tells us that part of their funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund. Should we be pleased or sigh in frustration at what our money is being used for?

And before anyone says it, I am quite well aware which political party controls most of the councils in Kent.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Same with the money spent by Kent police to mailshot every addres to provide details of their local neighborhood (sic) policing team i.e. the PC and PCSO. Many were already out of date by the time they were delivered. pointless - but another example of the busy doing nothing activities or initiatives beloved by the soviet style bodies that run these services.

frank o'file said...

"I am quite well aware which political party controls most of the councils in Kent."

Are you also aware of which party cheerfully took the UK into the EEC and which party then took it merrily into the EU?

(Clue - it's the party that has never held a referendum on anything to do with Europe but which finds it convenient to keep up a pretence of euroscepticism when in opposition).

permex said...

frank o'file:
Good one!
De Gaulle may have been a seditious twit (Quebec speech) but we should have listened to his 'NON'

Donal Blaney said...

FFS. Another case of Tory councillors failing to act like conservatives. Quit wasting my council tax money on self-promotion and cut my bloody council tax bill. Grrr.

Anonymous said...

There are posters all over the London Underground advertising days out by train to go shopping in places like Tunbridge Wells and Canterbury. In the small print, they say these are funded (or part-funded) by the EU. What is that all about?

Devil's Kitchen said...

One might also ask which organisation it is that has imposed swingeing charges on landfill rubbish disposal and thus encouraged the use of flytipping.

My, that'll be the EU then.

So, the EU puts big charges on landfill disposal, which leads to councils being unable to afford to collect the bins once a week and encourages flytipping, and then they fund a campaign to discourage the flytipping.

So, can we leave yet?

DK

paranoidman said...

the only sensible reason I can think might be behind this campaign is that if you personalise and humanise the people who clear the mess we leave behind away we might be less likely to leave a mess.

If it's some facelessm, nameless cleaner trudging the streets who cares if you drop a crisp packet. However if you know bill and frank clean your high street might you think about them before droping that litter?

not a great defence but the best I can think of

machiavelli said...

I would have expected a county council like Kent's to employ more than two cleaners.

Anonymous said...

Iain, advertising works. Good advertising works better.

These posters totally humanise and personalise the old Keep Britain Tidy posters. They seem as if they'd be rather effective and guilt-inducing on a certain percentage of the litter dropping population.

If it reduces the cost of clearing litter by more than the amount it takes to advertise them (remember local government can often get reduced rates, and for a county-wide scheme, another reduction in the rate card) then isn't it worthwhile?

Anonymous said...

Kent CC really loves itself - the Chief Exec in particular is the biggest bighead in England, and spends an awful lot of his time on self-aggrandisement at council taxpayers' expense.

Johnny Norfolk said...

All councils are at it with self promotion, They should be spending less not promoting themselves. we are sent a magazine in Breckland a complete waste of time and money.

Unsworth said...

This is the New Politics. What happens is that all the cash which is earmarked for 'improvements' to services goes on telling people about the changes (or wheezes, scams etc, if you will). Of course once people get around to doing what they say they will do - all the cash is gone. Then there's the cap in hand routine and the usual complaints that central or local government is starving whichever service of cash etc etc.

Thus when we see these advertisements plastered all over the hoardings we can be certain that the service is in terminal decline.

Anonymous said...

"Same with the money spent by Kent police to mailshot every addres to provide details of their local neighborhood (sic) policing team i.e. the PC and PCSO"

I received that same mailshot from Kent police 3 times!

John Trenchard said...

i received this week a council tax bill for the year - up 4.5 per cent.

and during the same week , and big A4 sized glossy council magazine, telling me how wonderful they are. since it was probably mailed to every council tax payer, i dare not even think of the costs.

dozzy said...

This just represents the same sort of nauseous sucking up to ordinary people that Tony Blair displayed when he announced a few years ago that the most difficult job in the world (more difficult than his own, he implied) was being a mother.

These posters won't result in less litter being dropped. The yobs who drop litter will merely be reminded that the state provides people to clear up after them.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

'Hello, is that the Acme Advertising Agency?'

'Yes.'

'Kent County Council here. Look, we're coming up to the end of our financial year and we have underspent our public relations budget by #500,000. Got any ideas how we can spend that sort of money before 31st March?'

'Oh, yes.'

Anonymous said...

Down here in Dover I've been walking past one of these every day. Thought it was something to do with the lifeboat & made a mental note to put a quid in their box. Being on the ferry last week made me glad they're around.
Road sweepers? Really? Yawn

Which shows how effective that campaign is...

tachybaptus said...

Hard to read this with a straight face if you know that 'kent' is one of the many spellings that Chaucer used for a fine organ that we aren't allowed to name here.

Not a coincidence: the county of Kent takes its name from Cenua, the ancient British goddess of childbirth.

So, the cleaner the better.

Adrian Yalland said...

In the absense of public bodies and Government that actually do things to make the country a better place to live, we have public bodies and Goverment spending money telling us what they would like us to believe they are doing to make the country a better place to live.

Maybe we should take out adverts saying "SO WHAT - THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE PAID TO DO"

Public bodies now have 'marketng budgets'. Why? it is not as if the local council is on competition with another local council!

So much money is wasted on stupidity like this.

Pogo said...

"Tachybaptus", reminds me of a story in the autobiography of the late Jack deManio (BBC announcer/newsreader, famed for his spoonerisms) about reading a news story concerning the Chief Constable of Kent... he got as far as "the Chief Kenstable of" before realising what he was about to say and hitting the "cough button". :-)

Anonymous said...

Same with the adverts on TV praising the Armed Forces. I'd rather they spent the money on supplies for them than just thanking them. Ridiculous

Bill Quango MP said...

If we didn't tell you the streets were cleaner then how would you know ?

They are now cleaner than a year ago.

Oceania has had a recent, decisive victory over Eurasia.

The streets ARE cleaner than yesterday.

Eurasia has had a recent, decisive victory over Oceania.

The streets have never been unclean.

Doubleplus ungood.