Peruvian government denies public service ad campaigns are designed to win votes

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LIMA--Peruvian Prime Minister Victor Joy Way went before Congress earlier this month to defend the government's recent advertising blitz, saying the administration has the right to promote the work it is doing.

The executive branch spent $1.7 million on advertising in the first four months of 1999 and has another $6 million budgeted for the coming 11 months.

The government has been involved in a major advertising campaign since the beginning of the year, promoting everything from peace with neighboring Ecuador to encouraging children to take care for their own bodies to avoid child abuse.

The government is working with two major advertising firms, Causa and Publicistas Asociados, to design integrated advertising strategies. Causa and Publicistas Asociados, as well as four other smaller agencies, have designed all of the government campaigns thus far.

The Prime Minister rejected charges by opposition parties that the advertising campaigns are designed to boost President Alberto Fujimori's chances in the April 2000 elections. "The contents of the ads are not aimed at highlighting the work of an individual person or institution, but promote services and public works, as well as underline values and prevent deplorable acts, such as child abuse."

Copyright May 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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