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BeeHive  >  Press Articles  >  DSS goes for the dogs and misses the target

DSS goes for the dogs and misses the target

What a laugh. Of all the things I thought I would never live to see I guess dogs advertising pensions would have seemed one of the more unlikely - I mean dog-food has gone down in price in real terms over the last twenty years so what have they really got to worry about? Still, it just goes to show I suppose.

Stranger things have happened, I know, but given the almost total lack of awareness of pensions among the population at large and employers in particular I was personally hoping for a slightly more hard-hitting approach from the DSS for their stakeholder advertising campaign. Something, perhaps, with a strapline along the lines of “Employers - you could get fined fifty thousand quid if you don’t take action sharpish!” or, “The State Basic Pension’s going to hell in a handcart - make sure it doesn’t take you with it! SAVE MONEY NOW!” or something like that anyway. It would have shaken up the general air of apathy a bit, but I suppose it wouldn’t have been as cute as the dogs.

My wife thought the dogs were “quite cute” and my daughters thought the ad was “all right”, but they were only watching because I made them, and they thought that was a “bit sad” anyway, so I doubt it would have registered with them otherwise. Mind you, if it hadn’t been sandwiched between an episode of Friends, I doubt they’d ever come across it in real life. Still, they’re not in the target market really, they’re at an age where they think people who keep going on about pensions like I do should loosen up and get a life.

Employers are in the target market though, and it’s how the message about pensions gets through to your average employer that’s begun to really bother me. I’ve been thinking about this for some time; stakeholder pensions are not really suited to individual distribution - they really are much more likely to be successful if they are distributed to groups. I can’t be the only person in the whole country who can see that that’s blindingly obvious, can I? It’s just that if it is so obvious, why were the ads aimed at sheepdogs and not at the farmer who provides their pay and rations? More to the point, how come he’s got so many sheepdogs in the first place? And anyway, why wasn’t the ad aimed at the sheep? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Steve Bee

First published in Pensions Management, 01/02/01