The Office of Fair Trading and Trading Standards Institute have
teamed up for a PR campaign to warn consumers about debt.
The campaign was launched this week to coincide with the TSI's annual
National Consumer Week, which this year is themed around debt.
Action is needed, according to the two bodies, as UK consumer debt has
reached an all time high of £700bn, £571bn of which is tied
up in mortgages.
The campaign, called Keep Debt Under Control, involves media relations
running alongside advertising and direct marketing.
The OFT's side to the campaign is being handled in-house and is led by
director of communications Mike Ricketts, head of publications Sue Cook
and head of news Mark Kram.
Kram said: 'The message is to ensure that debt doesn't spiral out of
control, and to offer information. This will carry on beyond the
National Consumer Week event.'
Media Link was hired to handle VNR work for the OFT, while the TSI's
media relations work is being handled by agency Storm.
The campaign focuses on three areas - to make sure consumers don't over
extend themselves when entering into a credit agreement, to shop around
and not get caught out by excessive interest rates and to get impartial
advice about debt problems.
According to figures from the Citizen's Advice Bureaux, nearly a quarter
of those with serious debt problems failed to seek expert help for up to
The OFT's communications function was restructured earlier this year,
leading to the appointment of Ricketts to the top PR role.
He joined after serving as the interim and first director of
communications at the Greater London Authority, where he set up its
first communications function.