Foster carers are hard to recruit. It's a demanding but rewarding job. Each one can save an authority thousands of pounds. But how to find them? One forward-thinking council has turned to targeted TV ads.
We had been looking for innovative ways to recruit more foster carers, so when Sky TV approached us to use their new targeted advertising system we had to give it a go.
Like many authorities we are struggling to recruit more carers for teenagers. We currently have around 430 children in care in Buckinghamshire, with the majority being of teenage age. Currently over 50% of our children are placed outside of the county, as we don’t have enough in-house foster carers.
Sky has a new AdSmart system, which controls the type of advert each household receives according to who lives there. Scary stuff, I know!! They do this using MOSAIC and lifestyle data but also postcode information.
We therefore decided to give Sky TV a go. We selected households which included families with teenage aged children and women aged 35-55 years old.
Using a production company recommended by Sky, The Gate, we were able to produce an animated advert using a real foster child’s voice. The advert cost us £5,770 to produce and we had permission to show this on our website as well as social media. To view the advert, please click here http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/social-care/children-and-families/fostering/a-foster-child%E2%80%99s-view/ (Production cost start from £2k).
The advert went live on 5 January 2015 and will run for 30 days. It will be shown to Sky customers on Sky channels (excluding movies and sport).
Am sure many of you are wondering well how much was all this?!! Well believe it or not, it’s much more affordable than you think. Our advert is going out to around 50,000 households and will be seen on average 5 times by each household, during the campaign period. The advertising cost was £8,356. Unless 75% of our advert is seen, we won’t be charged.
As we are the first local authority to use Sky’s AdSmart system, a questionnaire is to be sent out to all households receiving this advert to measure effectiveness. This is also supported by our own enquires processes whereby the source of every enquiry is recorded.
Once we have this data I shall report.
Anushka Desai is a communications officer at Buckinghamshire County Council.