In launching its new campaign for the Debt Arrangement Scheme, it has to be wondered whether the Scottish Government has dug itself a hole, rather than helping debtors out of one.

The Campaign, which directs debtors to a new website called www.helpoutofthehole.org appears marketing madness, but will be supported by a six week TV campaign on STV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

It directs people to the new website, which with its long URL address took me three or four attempts and a number of double checks before I got it correct: was it “help out the hole”, “get out the hole” or as Google suggested “help out of the hole of no hope”. It certainly felt like the latter.

Eventually a direct link from the Accountant in Bankruptcy’s website got me there.

Even trying a word search of Google was no help, unless of course I was looking for Australian miners stuck in a hole, someone called Rebecca who was unfortunately also in a hole or I was wanting to help find an instrument of vocaloid song, none of which I did.

The strategy behind this marketing campaign is hard to understand. It could be by directing debtors to a campaign specific site, the success of the campaign could be measured by the number of visitors to the site, but then surely a more memorable and relevant URL address could have been found. Equally, how effective is such a strategy if few find their way there.

If the strategy was to direct more Scots to a site where they could  get relevant and reliable debt advice, then why not make the call to action: google “Debt Arrangement Scheme” or “Das Scotland”, where most of those searching would have found after four or five sponsored ads, the Scottish Government’s www.dasscotland.gov.uk ranks organically number one.

Alternatively, if the idea was to direct debtors away from those types of keywords, which are heavily bid for by private debt management companies, then any benefit is likely to be fleeting.

If it becomes clear heavy amounts of traffic are being directed towards the hole, then pay per click campaigns will be re-diverted and those remaining variations of the URL, that weren’t bought up by the Scottish Government on the 5th of August, will soon be taken.

It’s inexplicable, to me anyway, why the Scottish Government didn’t just direct visitors to its already established DAS website, which is highly ranked on search engines for Debt Arrangement Scheme related keywords, if not first and benefits from the authority of a .gov.uk domain name.

I suspect the campaign has been set up to measure its success by directing debtors to a specific site. The problem is because that site is hard to find and doesn’t capitalise on the search engine history of the official site, one must wonder whether success is being forsaken to measure success.

Maybe the Scottish Government need to heed the advice often given to debtors and stop digging.