Advertising Standards Authority bans DWP Universal Credit "advertisements"

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lankou

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More at link:-

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-50304322

Universal credit adverts banned as 'misleading'
By Judith Burns
BBC News
6 hours ago

A series of government advertisements claiming to debunk myths about universal credit has been banned for misleading the public.
The Advertising Standards Agency received 44 complaints about six newspaper adverts and a web page.
The adverts included claims people moved into work faster on universal credit, which "did not accurately reflect the evidence", the ASA said.

Monic1511

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The minister is still defending the government policy of using public funds to lie to people

Sunny Clouds

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They will continue to get away with it because the message that people on benefits (or rather other people on benefits) are scroungers has been hammered home since Thatcher's day.

I want to do one of my linguistic rants in relation to benefits and particularly names of them.  I'm minded of my French teacher teaching us when I was 7 that words have flavours.  You don't need to speak French to get the explanation.  If you're bored with my repetition of it, scroll by this bit or the whole message for my benefits jargon stuff.

If you go in an English-speaking restaurant and ask for 'soup', you'll get liquid food that won't be a milkshake or fruit juice, and it will come in a bowl with a spoon.  It will probably be for starters for your meal.  The same would happen if you asked for 'soupe' in a French restaurant.

But the words map onto different corresponding words in the two languages.  French - soupe = soup, souper (noun) = dinner, souper (verb) = dine.  So the French word 'soupe' triggers subconscious links that the English word 'soup' doesn't.  We do have 'sup' and 'supper', but although they have the same roots, there aren't the same mental associations and it's complicated by the peculiar English social entanglement over which meal is called what. 

(Is your personal usage of lunch, tea, dinner, supper the same as that of your neighbours?  If someone invites you to dinner will it be at lunchtime or teatime?  If they invite you to supper will it be mid-evening meal or late-evening snack?)

So, benefits jargon.

At some point, 'social security', a sort of safety net, became benefits which when used in contexts such as marketing products and in terms of employment are positive 'extras' you get, not basics. 

Government on government racked up the scrounger image whilst playing musical benefit names (see, I've had 'benefit' embedded in my brain now) and you could find yourself wondering whether this week you should be asking for money for 'severe disablement' or 'incapacity' or whatever, but New Labour takes the biscuit for re-branding the help you need if you can't work as 'employment support allowance' with all its subconscious connotations of being a temporary help for workers.  People unable to work long time or at all disappeared from view. Thanks, New Labour.  Not.

'Disability' and 'incapacity' benefits became muddled in people's minds, and that was reinforced in lots of ways in the media.

And why extend 'income support' when you can talk about 'tax credits' and rebrand the income support element of out-of-work benefits as income-related ESA and JSA. 

And whilst calling unemployment benefit jobseekers allowance could seem positive, actually it creates a notion that you have to work at seeking employment to get it, rather than that you've been hit by employment.  Hey, why think of a mismatch between available work and individual abilities, competencies, education, training etc?   Nope, it's nothing to do with the economy, it's all down to whether you're working hard enough at seeking a job.

Etc.

So then we have Universal Credit.  Well it at least gets rid of some of the nastier jargon.  What a pity the negative attitudes are still there and the mental associations created by previous governments are still there.  Gosh, didn't the Tories under Thatcher, Cameron etc. work so well with parts of the media to brand people who couldn't work as 'scroungers' etc? 

More when I can manage it.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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And that's what advertising's about.  Mental associations.

The biggest mental association this government has used is the one that successive governments have built up - benefits claimant = scrounger, fraud, cheat. 

Thus if they keep repeating the message 'people lie about these benefits, the truth is...' what they're doing is reinforcing the mental association between people claiming benefits and not telling the truth, trying to cheat.

So even if they're criticised for particular advertising, they'll still get away with that because their underlying mental associations will have been embedded in people's minds.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

auntieCtheM

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Absolutely right Sunny.