Labour to rethink ad strategy as BMP bows out

By Our Parliamentary Correspondent, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 26 November 1999 12:00AM

Labour is expected to put its advertising account up for pitch after BMP DDB told the party it does not want to handle the account for the next general election campaign.

Labour is expected to put its advertising account up for pitch

after BMP DDB told the party it does not want to handle the account for

the next general election campaign.



BMP has said it would be prepared to work on the account with other

agencies on a voluntary basis, and has offered to join a team based on

the Shadow Communications Agency used by Labour in the 1992 and 1987

elections. But the party is believed to have decided to appoint a new

advertising agency.



Shops in the frame for the account are thought to include St Luke’s,

which has impressed ministers with its work for the Government.



BMP’s decision was relayed by Chris Powell, its chairman, in a letter to

Margaret McDonagh, Labour’s general secretary. The agency was worse off

financially under the formal contract than when it worked on a voluntary

basis for the SCA. The huge 1997 election effort - and low fees paid by

Labour - are believed to have cost the agency about pounds 1

million.



Powell said: ’My colleagues don’t wish the agency to be inundated to the

degree it was in the 1997 election but would be happy to work in the

role that BMP took in 1987 and 1992, when some of the work was shared

around.’



BMP staff, led by Powell, played a prominent role in the SCA. But

following criticism by Labour politicians that the backroom advisers

enjoyed too much power, the party decided on a formal agency link for

the 1997 campaign.



The final decision on an agency appointment will be taken by Labour’s

election strategy team, headed by Gordon Brown, the chancellor, and

Peter Mandelson, the Northern Ireland secretary.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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