Companies House



To persuade an apathetic audience of 2.6m British businesses to file annual returns online rather than on paper, even though there were very little cost or time savings to be made from switching.

The task was made considerably harder by the fact that filing at Companies House takes place all through the year rather than at one defined period (as is the case with HMRC tax returns for example). Therefore, with a small budget, we needed to reach and engage a very large audience with a message that might be retained in their minds for long enough to influence their filing behaviour several months later.


No business likes to be considered behind the times.


We developed a creative solution that turned paper forms into dinosaurs, suggesting that filing on paper was an antiquated way of doing things. This was a particularly bold and radical approach for a government department, especially since 8 out of 10 of their customers were still using paper forms at the time of the launch.

The campaign strategy was to reach as many of our targets as possible and to disrupt their habitual media consumption. We shaped the campaign around national press and magazines to raise awareness, and drove response and trial through a host of digital display banners, direct marketing (targeting the high volume filers) and email marketing. Each channel was carefully planned to engage in different ways and add layers of argument to the proposition.

And we supported the outbound channels with a micro-site offering a dino-assisted online demonstration, literature and display stands for face-to-face events, case studies showcasing businesses that had ‘evolved’ to online filing, and a raft of internal communications elements such as mouse mats, screen savers, pens and posters to ensure that everyone was on-board and interacting with the message.


Electronic filing grew from 21% to over 50% in just 18 months. 768,000 companies changed behaviour as a result of the campaign, saving an estimated 10 tonnes of paper every month. That’s a saving of about 170 trees, over a million sheets of A4 paper, each month.

Recall of the advertising was incredibly high at 78% of all businesses, and 27% of those businesses admitted that they were prompted to file online as a direct result of the campaign.

The dinosaurs were shortlisted for four national awards, coming up just short to a noble anti-smoking campaign each time.

“The Dinosaur campaign (which deserved at least one award!) was an especially wonderful, integrated and effective piece of marketing. It gave me a great buzz to be involved in the campaign from start to finish. Thanks again for making it such a pleasure with your know-how, professionalism and passion for doing a superb job.”

Arthur West
Customer Insight Manager
Companies House