Agencies fight for Revenue's facelift

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

relationships.



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

initiatives.



Schoolar, who is leading the pitch with help from COI Communications,

has already established relationships with two of the competing

agencies.



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

TBWA.



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

Davis.



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.



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