Three agencies are vying for the task of giving the Inland Revenue
a human face as the government agency broadens its role to become not
just a tax collector, but also a distributor of benefits.
M&C Saatchi, TBWA/London and WCRS have pitched for the assignment to rid
the Inland Revenue of its forbidding image and present it as a friendly,
efficient and helpful service.
The winning agency will be responsible for producing an umbrella
campaign setting the style and tone under which the Inland Revenue's
current roster shops will work.
The pitch forms part of the marketing-led culture being introduced by
Ian Schoolar, the former head of brand communications at NatWest, who
became the Inland Revenue's marketing chief five months ago.
The brand campaign will not affect the Inland Revenue's existing
These are with Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, which runs the campaign to
encourage people to complete their self-assessment tax returns on time;
St Luke's, which is responsible for promoting working families' tax
credits; and Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, which runs the
information campaign on charitable giving.
It is understood that extra advertising will be funded from existing
budgets. It is unclear how much will be diverted from existing
Schoolar, who is leading the pitch with help from COI Communications,
has already established relationships with two of the competing
He was at NatWest last year when M&C Saatchi was selected to handle the
TV relaunch campaign for the bank after its pounds 20 billion
acquisition by the Royal Bank of Scotland. He was also involved in the
decision two years ago to consolidate the entire NatWest account within
Industry sources say the brief is a difficult one. 'The Inland Revenue
wants to show what a good service it is but must not be seen to be
'selling' itself,' an insider said. 'Doing so would attract charges that
the advertising was politically motivated.'
The Inland Revenue's most famous attempt to lose its intimidating image
was Hector, the cartoon taxman, created by the then Leagas Shafron
He is being phased out of the advertising.
The Inland Revenue will integrate with the social security system to
encourage people to work rather than receive benefits.