The Central Office of Information is putting pounds 63 million
worth of creative and media business up for grabs in a two-pronged
overhaul of the Government’s advertising business.
The COI this week fired the starting gun on a full-scale review of its
media buying account, which it has been auditing internally since last
spring (Campaign, 5 April 1996). It is also set to revamp its creative
roster as soon as a general election is called.
National press and magazine buying, currently handled by the creative
planning agencies working on the individual COI accounts, will be pooled
with regional press buying, currently held by Zenith Media, and thrown
open to pitch. The move will create a pounds 20 million-plus centralised
Radio buying, handled by Leo Burnett, TV buying, handled by the Media
Centre, and cinema will also be reviewed. The only media task excluded
from the overhaul will be the poster buying account, handled by
All business will be thrown open to non-roster agencies.
The COI’s director of marketing communications, Peter Buchanan, said
that the COI was always striving for better value from its pounds 63
million ad budget and added: ’We will action any initiative that fits
The creative roster review, which takes place every five years, was not
due until the end of this year. However, since most Whitehall campaigns
are shelved during a general election, the COI will take advantage of
the breathing space to launch its review.
It is designed to streamline the COI’s 40-strong roster and may result
in more regional shops joining the line-up. A new section of the roster
will be devoted to integrated marketing agencies, in line with the COI’s
plans to develop through-the-line work (Campaign, last week). A separate
section, comprising seven recruitment agencies, is likely to be dropped.