The collapse of the Farepak hamper company in 2006 ruined thousands of Christmases for people across the country.
As a result the Government announced £1m funding for the Office of Fair Trading to conduct a consumer awareness campaign on Christmas saving schemes their mainstream alternatives.
Save Xmas was launched on 1 June 2007, and six months later HM Treasury announced a further £2m for the campaign taking it to March 2011.
Here the OFT explain how its campaign had a major impact on people’s behaviour.
The OFT and Citizens Advice joined forces to create the campaign which used face-to-face training sessions to explain the pros and cons of different Christmas saving options as well as wider issues around personal saving.
The OFT produced a toolkit including a leaflet, a short film, and presentations to use as the basis for these sessions and the campaign also involved additional publicity including a national launch and regional events.
Research carried out by Ipsos Mori demonstrates the positive effect this campaign has had on helping consumers to make an informed choice and change their saving habits.
The campaign reached an estimated 40,000 consumers in face-to-face sessions.
95% of people said they found the Save Xmas session they attended useful.
Nine in ten people knew more about their savings options by the end of the session and four in five knew where to go for more information.
Alongside this, 38% of people contacted in a follow-up survey said they had changed the way they saved for important events as a result of their session, with many opening a saving account with a bank or building society or credit union.
71% also felt more confident about deciding how to save more generally.
OFT chief executive John Fingleton said the campaign was crucial in helping people get a better grip on their finances.
“This research demonstrates just how effective the campaign has been in helping people learn about the different ways in which they can save money and the benefits and risks attached.
“Our partnership with Citizens Advice and community groups in using the face-to-face approach to reach the many people across the country at risk of financial hardship has been, and will continue to be, crucial.’
John Rhodes, head of financial capability, Citizens Advice added, “This campaign means that some good, at least, has come out of the Farepak collapse. This research by Ipsos Mori backs up the feedback that those teaching financial education skills have been receiving locally, and we welcome the commitment the Treasury and OFT have given to extending the Save Xmas campaign.’
Watch the video that accompanied the campaign below.
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