Agencies fight for Unicef global brief

By KAREN YATES, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 26 November 1999 12:00AM

Unicef, the United Nations Children’s Fund, is in talks with major advertising networks about a dollars 1 billion initiative to put children’s issues at the top of the international agenda.

Unicef, the United Nations Children’s Fund, is in talks with major

advertising networks about a dollars 1 billion initiative to put

children’s issues at the top of the international agenda.



Unicef officials have put forward provisional budgets of dollars 200

million for advertising on the project, which aims to change the

attitudes among industry and government leaders and other

opinion-formers. The organisation hopes to galvanise support from

academic organisations, charities and industry for the project, which is

known internally as the Global Movement for Children.



It will culminate in a world conference on children’s issues involving

the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, in 2001.



The project’s New York-based head of communications, Corinne Woods, was

in London this week visiting a shortlist of seven agencies drawn up by

the Advertising Agency Register - M&C Saatchi, Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo

Burnett, D’Arcy, Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, TBWA GGT Simons Palmer and BMP

DDB.



The three or four finalists chosen from this list will have to be

approved by Unicef’s ethics committee before proceeding with the

project.



’Unicef has to be seen to be whiter than white,’ one source close to the

talks confided, adding that agencies would be vetted for their

involvement in advertising of cigarettes, alcohol, baby formulas and

arms sales.



’It’s a very bold and ambitious idea,’ Woods said. ’Our job is to touch

the imagination of the world.’



She added that it was too soon to say how much would be spent on

advertising-related services: ’We don’t know what the budget will be. In

total we have dollars 1 billion. Yes, we want to invest in the best

communications people in the business to get it right, but we’ve got to

balance that against other things we want to spend our money on.’



Woods did not comment on whether the organisation would rely on media

companies to donate airtime or advertising space. It is also unclear why

Unicef, which is headquartered in New York, has approached UK rather

than US agencies.



The initial challenge facing the successful agency will be to identify

the existing problems facing children and the organisations that can

help.



Woods said there were ’101’ problems facing children today, and that

these had changed significantly since the last UN Special Assembly on

children in 1990.



Woods hopes to have an umbrella concept in place by next spring

reflecting the broad nature of the alliance that Unicef has gathered

together to fight for children’s issues. It has not yet been decided

whether this will include the Unicef name.



Bates UK’s position as Unicef’s agency of record is unaffected by the

review.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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