Finance department responds on budget cover

Here’s the text of an email I received today from a spokesman for the federal department of Finance, after last week’s story that the 2016 federal budget cover cost more than $200,000 to produce. I’m posting the entire text of the email here, rather than on the Maclean’s website, because it’s not super-great journalism to simply reproduce what I’m fed verbatim without verifying. But verifying would take some time, and I’m not sure how much I want to go down that rabbit hole, and anyway here’s what Finance sent me. — pw

Here’s a little more info you might find useful following Blacklock Report’s story last week on the budget cover:

Below are Budget advertising production expenditures for past years. The costs could include (depending on the year) the creative work related to the production of the budget document (including photoshoots and talent rights); related products such as brochures and web imagery; and TV, radio, digital and print advertising production (excluding media buys).

2011–12: $1,023,963.10

A second 2011 budget occurred in June 2011

2012–13: $552,500

2013–14: $419,004

2014–15: $1,064,601

The April 2015 budget involved costs in the prior fiscal year.

Costs for 2010 and 2011 are not immediately available.

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Budget 2016: $183,046.13

Budget 2017: $157,120.62

These costs would cover similar types of expenditures as described above, except TV, radio and print ads.

  • The cost listed above includes expenses incurred for the creative content for all communications activities, marketing and promotional initiatives related to Budget 2017. In addition to the cover, the advertising elements include the cost of production of videos and various social and digital media initiatives.
  • The Department has used original photography dating back to 2010. To maximize photography, images are repurposed for various communication initiatives throughout the year by the Department of Finance and by other Government of Canada departments.
  • In order to secure the most appropriate images for the Budget, as well as for other purposes, a professional photographer was selected from three bids and chosen based on cost, availability and experience.
  • The Budget photoshoot was part of an advertising campaign related to promoting key measures aimed at strengthening and growing the middle class. In addition to the Budget cover, photos were used for the Budget website, Budget documents, social and digital media, as well as a paid internet campaign.
  • Standard Government of Canada procurement contracting policies, including TBS guidelines, were followed.
  • Initial review by Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) was made on March 8th, 2017 prior to actual production, and then again post-production on March 16, 2017
  • There is no breakdown of costs that detail expenditures for cover images specifically. Photos produced for the budget cover are typically used in other products as well.