Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
28 April 2016

The Department for Transport spent £70,000 on Snapchat filters in a single year

Snap out of it.

By Media Mole

Snapchat is a photo-sharing app beloved of teens – and, as it turns out, the Department of Transport. 

The response to a Freedom of Information request sent by BuzzFeed News revealed that the Department had spent £70,000 on sponsored Snapchat filters in a year.

Filters are used to cover parts of your photo with doodles or pictures – in this case, bars over your face to remind you not to drive on drugs and the message “Drive High? The roadside swab will catch you.” The filters were part of the Department’s “Think!” campaign, and were available in March. 

The figure sounds high, but it was actually only 5 per cent of the advertising budget for the Think! drug driving campaign. The £70,000 spent on Snapchat may also have done more to reach young people than any other type of ad, given almost 50 per cent of young Brits were on the app by 2014, and many dodge ads online and while streaming TV by using adblockers.

By your mole’s reckoning, this means the department spent £1.4m on the drug-driving campaign alone. For comparison, in 2012, the most spent by the Department on any single media campaign was £945,582 on drink driving. Austerity for some, eh?

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy