Back in 2010 the BBC reported on the 40% rise in advertising spending in the run up to the last general election, with the former head of the Government Information Service telling them that ministers pressurised civil servants to run adverts which would highlight the government’s programme as polling day approached:
“One of the dangerous things that has happened over the years is that the boundaries as they are seen between what is proper and what is not proper have become more and more blurred.
Quite. Hours after the general election campaign kicked off yesterday, George Osborne decided to launch new adverts for his Help To Buy scheme in the middle of one of TV’s most expensive ad slots (the new series of Broadchurch) — this despite a freeze which limits marketing to “essential expenditure”.
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) January 5, 2015
And then there’s the conspicuously nationalist ‘superfast broadband’ campaign, launched last month with an attendant press release referencing the Tory slogan “long term economic plan”: