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The Union has just completed a TV commercial as part of the Scottish Government’s push to promote the National Debtline (0808 808 4000) which is designed to help Scots facing debt problems in the current financial downturn. The 30 second TV ad features the ‘Debt Monster’ a creature that gets larger and larger when ignored, reaching terrifying proportions. However when faced the ‘Debt Monster’ is faced, it becomes smaller and more manageable. The commercial ends with the advice to call the National Debtline for help and advice. The campaign will be supported by online advertising, a website and leaflets in key outlets.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said an awareness campaign, led by the Money Advice Trust and backed with £382,000 from the Scottish Government, would start this week. Free, independent advice will focus on positive steps people can take to ‘self diagnose’ their financial situation and what can be done to improve it. Ms Sturgeon said that it was important for people to be honest with themselves that they may need to do something about their debt, and then seek help sooner rather than later. TV and online adverts will underpin the nationwide campaign, and for the first time, ATM machines across Scotland will carry adverts for the campaign. Other key advice organisations – such as Citizens Advice Scotland, Shelter Scotland and Money Advice Scotland – are backing the campaign.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “As the recession bites, families across Scotland are feeling the pressure financially, with increases in food prices, rising bills and mortgage and lending uncertainty all adding to the headache. National Debtline will provide the best possible support for people with debt problems. The advice is free, confidential and independent. The main message we want to get across is for people to take control of their debt, before it controls them. The first step to beating debt is to face up to it and recognise you need to do something about it sooner rather than later. This Government will do all it can to help those in difficulty, and that’s why I would urge anyone experiencing financial problems to call National Debtline.”

Michael Hart, Joint Creative Director at The Union said: “The challenge with this brief from the Scottish Government was to strike the right balance between stimulating response and making the advertising too emotional or depressing. This was a tricky balance, and it was only after detailed insight and creative testing that we found the right solution.” The animated TV commercial was created by Michael Hart and Ben Craig at The Union, and the animation was created and produced by Ink Digital.