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Travel Information

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 13 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reason the WAGs Guide to Travel was produced by his Department; how much it cost; and if he will make a statement. (163831)

Know Before You Go is a travel safety campaign run by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Consular Directorate, aimed at reducing the problems that British travellers face when on holiday abroad. It focuses both on the general travelling public and on a number of key target audiences who are involved in a disproportionate number of preventable consular cases.

One of the campaign's target groups is young women aged between 16-24. Research shows that this audience responds particularly well to advice from celebrities and other aspirational figures. We therefore decided to involve a football wife and girlfriend (WAG) in the campaign to generate media coverage, which would deliver our messages to this audience.

To front the WAG's guide the campaign recruited Charlotte Mears and she was paid £2,000. Planning and administration of the campaign were covered as part of our ongoing contract with Know Before You Go campaign agencies at no additional cost. In total, Ms Mears worked for 10 hours on the WAG's guide and its promotion. The guide had coverage on GMTV, radio, websites, consumer magazines and national and regional press and generated over 27 million opportunities to hear and see Know Before You Go travel safety messages. This equates to £170,000 worth of media advertising. For an outlay of £2,000 we therefore secured coverage which would have cost £170,000 to buy commercially, making the WAG's initiative a highly cost-effective way of getting safety messages across to a key target audience.