The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spent nearly £800,000 on partnering with Gogglebox to produce a series of adverts to promote the benefits of saving for retirement.
The government department commissioned adverts, which see the Gogglebox families talk about their own pension accounts, while also reviewing a previous DWP advert.
In response to a Freedom of Information request sent by RP’s sister title Professional Pensions, the DWP said it had spent £798,394.87 on partnering with the television show, including production fees and media airtime.
A further £1,346.16 was used to promote the advertisement on Twitter, alongside £1,733.44 on other social media platforms, between 22 and 26 March. There was no spend on promotion using Facebook during this period.
The department has allocated up to £61,871 to promote the advertisement on social media, including the already-incurred expenditure, but has no further budget allocated for the partnership.
In the Gogglebox advert, one participant says the previous advert, which includes a chef working alongside a mini version of herself, shows “you working and your pension working with you”.
“It’s kind of like a straightforward, simple concept, isn’t it? Invest in yourself,” adds another.
They also talk about “saving for the future without even realising” and the importance of saving for retirement.
In its response, the DWP said “paying to reach the widest possible audience is both necessary and responsible”.
The Workplace Pension campaign “raises awareness among employees of the importance of saving into a workplace pension,” it added.
“Gogglebox is one of Channel 4’s biggest shows, attracting an impressive average audience of 3.5 million viewers in 2018.
“The Gogglebox families are real people and trusted voices, who help communicate to the public that saving for later life is the normal and right thing to do.”
Writing on Twitter, Royal London director of policy and former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb said the adverts “really hit the mark”.
“[They are] real, recognisable people explaining workplace pensions,” he added.