As an ex-journalist, I have a habit of fact-checking headlines and rumours across the internet. Recent claims across certain media and LinkedIn suggests an impending government campaign “telling businesses to slash marketing and reduce costs to mitigate the cost of living crisis.”

This headline is hugely damaging to an already volatile sector.

Let’s pick the headlines apart.

I am seeing  many people sharing Marketing Week’s headline “GOVERNMENT ADVICE TO CUT MARKETING MAY BE ‘DEEPLY DAMAGING’ FOR UK ECONOMY.”

This headline is misleading.

Thus far, the government hasn’t actually released any form of PR saying this explicitly. The only source of this statement that I can find is from David Buttress (the government’s new “cost of living tsar”) who said the following comment in an interview with the BBC:

“If you think about all the money that’s spent on marketing and doing deals to promote some of the big leisure activities that the British people enjoy, let’s take some of that money,” David Buttress, former chief executive of Just Eat, told the BBC.

“Let’s refocus it on what really matters to people which is making their prices more competitive so their money goes further.”

This interview quote has travelled like Chinese Whispers on to LinkedIn as: “Government advising businesses to slash marketing spend.”

To me, this reads as a very ill-thought out example of HIS idea of cost cutting measures. Not, as some media outlets have stated, explicit advice to cut marketing budgets.

Actually, the campaign, which will have a fancy slogan, will be focused on encouraging businesses to lower prices for the consumer. Which I do agree is not a particularly well thought out concept and will be impossible for SMEs and micro businesses to meet.

To be honest, I’d say it’s all going to be a bit of a s**t show of a campaign being paid for by the tax-payers.

Oh the irony.

The BBC has reported: “It’s understood the slogan, which is still being decided, will promote a message about helping out in tough times, which businesses could display to give them “kudos”, as a government source put it, by cutting their prices for consumers using money they would otherwise use on marketing.”

“…it’s understood…”

“…a government source…”

Powerful journalism.

But if anyone can please point me in the direction of a better source for these headlines, I’d be much appreciative.