The Pensions Regulator has released figures to illustrate how Workie, their eye-catching advert figurehead has been helping to raise awareness of auto enrolment.
Who is Workie?
Workie is a giant furry creature who is the spearhead of The Pension Regulator's campaign to raise awareness of auto enrolment amongst businesses, featuring in TV, press and internet adverts. Launched in October 2015, the Workie campaign replaced the Theo Paphitis as the celebrity figurehead of the auto enrolment campaign. Speaking at the launch, Baroness Ros Altmann, the government's Pensions Minister said:
“This is a fun and quirky campaign but behind it lies a very serious message. We need everyone to know they are entitled to a workplace pension – and we need all employers to understand their legal responsibility to their staff, but also to feel more positive about engaging with workplace pensions.”
Is Workie working?
Since the launch of Workie, doubts have been aired that spending so much money on such a campaign was cost-effective, with Nick Thomas-Symonds MP the Labour's Shadow Pensions Minister saying:
“Getting workplace pensions right is an important job and auto-enrolment brings great benefits, so the government is right to do some public awareness campaigning. But perhaps spending £8.45m on the UK's most expensive monster is not the most effective or efficient way to do this.”
- 79% of employers recall seeing an automatic enrolment campaign advert fronted by Workie
- 24% successfully recalled the message “all employers need to comply”
- 91% of bookkeepers recalled an advert, up 9% from the previous year.
According to Charles Counsell, Executive Director for automatic enrolment, these figures show that the campaign is working:
“Workie is working, but the ad campaign is just one of the tools we have used to ensure employers and intermediaries are ready for workplace pension. We have been updating our communications and working with professional bodies to ensure that advisers across the country are ready for their clients' questions. Hundreds of thousands of small and micro employers are now preparing for their new workplace pension duties so it is no surprise that more advisers are seeing their clients turn to them for help.”
However, some pension experts have cast doubt on how effective the campaign really has been. Financial services expert and Lucian Camp Consulting founder Lucian Camp said that the response figures are “impressive” but he questioned the value for money of the campaign.
“The figures that do give some food for thought are the ones that say correspondence from TPR was the main trigger for 76 per cent of employers to take action, whereas advertising was the main trigger for only 23 per cent. This does make me wonder whether the cost of the advertising was really essential, when the mail activity was working so well.”