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Government agency demands suppression of news of its own TV advertising campaign

HealthDirect, the Australian Government’s public body responsible for delivering medical services and clinical governance, is seeking the removal of all news that has been published about its TV spot designed to promote its own hotline service, Pregnancy Birth & Baby.

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Workshop Australia designed the TV spot, which was directed by Zia Mandviwalla of Curious, which was launched then swiftly withdrawn last week. News of the campaign was published by The Drum on 12 November after details of the campaign were circulated via Curious.

Now, Healthdirect Australia, Curious and Workshop Australia have united in seeking the total removal of all media reports about the campaign they collaborated on.

HealthDirect said that a protocol issue had led to its demands for withdrawal of all publicity surrounding the campaign.

“As a government service there are certain protocols we follow when issuing media releases. These steps were not followed in the development and release of the story that was provided to you,” Michelle Wade of HealthDirect told The Drum.

“I would hope that you are able to remove the story at our request,” she added.

Cheyne Oxford, business director of Workshop told The Drum: “Healthdirect has issued strict instructions for the press release to be removed from any outlets that has published the story.”

“I would like to confirm on behalf of Healthdirect Australia that we would like this article to be removed from your site.”

The Drum was told that Curious Films did not seek approval from Workshop or Healthdirect in the creation or distribution of the campaign’s press release. None have said whether the ads will run at a later date or if the campaign has been scrapped.

Peter Grasse, the GM of Curious told The Drum that Curious was “now in hot water” over the gaffe. Telling The Drum that the clip had been prematurely released by “an eager young director.”

“There was an issue with the client and Agency as they did not want us to run any press for the campaign until they had done their own.” Morgan Brading of Curious told The Drum.

The clip has since been removed from the Curious website.

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