DOCUMENT RESU3E 02761 - A1993061 ] (4,~e=-'J (Government Ependitures for Advertising]. LCD-77-434; B-144618. Jujy 12, 1977. 4 pp. Report to Rep. Max Baucus; by Robert G, Rothwell (for Fred J. Shafer, Director, Logistics and Communictions Div. Contact: Logistics and Communications Div. Organization Concerned: General Services Administration. Congressional Relevance: Rep. Max Baucus. Total Government advertising costs have been obtained by carrying out special studies or o:ne-time reporting. There is no Government-wide definition of advertising and no central location within the Government where such information can be obtained. Findings/Conclusions: In fiscal years 1974 and 1975, 31 agencies spent about $189 million and $199 million, respectively, for advertising. There is no requirement that agencies identify avertising costs within their budgets. Because advertising effectiveness depends on many factors, including intended audience, evaluation is best viewed on a program-by-program Pazas. Only a few such evaluations have been done. The evidence indicates that the Army's advertising aimed at recruiting an all-volunteer force has contributed only modestly. (DJM) 7E~ Mns(1(a)2UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE 7 ) e X Wgi/ ~ ~ WASHINGrON, D.C. 2054S )o O7I/ // / IOl-nCs AND COMMLVr41CAT 10 / aEsTR'CTID - Not to be re"ased outside the General 44618 Accountfng Offie. except on t .asi "Ie of specific approval by the Office of Congresio R *. Tne Honorable Max Baucus JUL 12 1977 Souse of Representatives Dear Mr. Baucus: In your May 20, 1977, letter, you asked that we examine how much the Government spends for television, radio, and magazine advertising. You also wished to know where these expenditures are accounted for in each agency's budget and whether this type of advertising is effective. GOVERNMENT ADVERTISING- COSTS Although .nforation in the form you requested is not available without surveying each agency and bureau, we have information on hand that may meet your needs. We answered a similar congressional inquiry in 1975 by obtaining total advertising costs from 31 agencies. This information shows the costs by type of media for commercially procured advertising. In-house costs, however, are not broken out. These 31 agencies spent $141.6 million for advertising by private agencies in fiscal year 1974 and estimated that $145.5 million would be spend in fiscal year 1975. In ardition, the agencies spent $47.5 million for in-house advertising in fiscal year 1974 and estimated $53.3 million for in-house advertising in fiscal year 1975. Therefore, these 31 agencies spent about $189 million and $199 million, respectively, for fiscal year 1974 and 1975. The expenditures and various types of media purchased from private agencies are as follows: LCD-77-434 1974 1975 (ac-ial) (estimated) Television $ 4,929,300 $ 9,596,000 Radio 2,006,400 2,428,70O Newspapers and magazines 30,168,400 30,487,800 Posters, bill- boards, and displays 15,592,100 13,004,000 Brochures and catalogs 25,673,000 31,676,000 Films 5,464,400 6,277,900 Other 57,757,700 52,029;000 Total $141,591i300 $145,499,400 Other costs include items such das mili rv recruiting costs which were not clearly reported by type of media used, give-away recruiting items, visitors programs, advertising research, and related travel costs. REPORTING ADVERTISING COSTS There is no requirement that agencies identify adver- tising costs within their budgets. Also, budgeting of these costs varies by agency. For example, military recruiting advertising is budgeted under Operations and Maintenance for each of the military departments, and Energy Research and Development Administration recruiting is budgeted under Program Direction, Program Support. Energy Research anC Development Administration public information is budgeted under Supporting Activities, Program Support, and National Institute of Drug Abuse publl information is budgeted under Management and Information, Drug Abuse, Direct Program. Further, there is no Government--w.de definition of adver- tising and no central location within the Government where this nformation can be obtained. Consequently, total Government advertising costs have previously been obtained jy special studies or one-time reporting, with the defini- tions established for each report. This approach was used in our aforementioned study. In July 1975, the Office of .Management and Budget reported to the Chairman, House Appropriations Committee, on the total Government contract advertising costs. This 2 report covered all agencies with more than 100 employees. The method of defining advertising costs for the Office of Management and Budget study differed somewhat from our study of the same period, in that we were more specific as to what costs should be reported. As a result, the reported costs differed. We reported advertising from private firms at $141.6 million in fiscal year 1974, and the Office of Management and Budget reported $128.8 million. Our report also pointed out that some agencies had reservations about identifying certain costs as advertising. EFFECTIVENESS OF ADVERTISING PROGRAMS We discussed advertising effectiveness with an official of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Accord- ing to him, advertising effectiveness depends on many factors, such as type of presentation, timing, and media. Further, each program is designed L£r a particular group. This diver- sity would likely cause the effectiveness to vary from program to program. Consequently, we believe that evaluation of Government advertising could an effectiveness best be viewed on a program-by-program basis. We have been able to locate only a few evaluations of the effectiveness of Government advertising programs. We evaluated the effectiveness c the Army's advertising aimed at recruiting persons or the all-volunteer forces (rAdver- tising For Military Recruiting; How Effective Is It?" FPCD-76-168, March 29, 1976). In that report, we pointed out that although the all-volunteer forces program had been successful, all available evidence indicates that te contribution of advertising had been modest at best. A copy of the report is enclosed. In addition to our work, we are aware of two other evaluations of advertising programs. Both are available through the National Technical Information Service. They are: -- "Public Awarenezs of a NIAAA Advertising Campaign and Public Attitudes Toward Drinking and Alcohol Abuse" (Order Number PB244 143-SET). -- "Effects of Anti-Smoking Campaigns Aimed at Less hazardous Smoking" (Order Number PB225 147/7). 3 We trust this information will satisfy your needs. Sincerely yours, Fred Shafer Director Enclosure 4
Government Expenditures for Advertising
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-07-12.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)