COI calls first pitch for media planning roster

COI Communications has invited media agencies to pitch for a

position on its first strategic media planning roster.

The six places on the roster will be filled from a pitchlist of about

ten agencies, which is expected to be finalised over the next few


COI will look to turn around the pitch quickly, benefiting from its

enforced period of inactivity leading up to the general election. The

new roster will operate from 1 September.

Media planning is currently the responsibility of COI's creative

agencies, which develop their own partnerships with media specialists

when working on COI briefs. However, the increasing fragmentation of the

media and the complications of targeting consumers has led COI to take

more direct control of media strategy.

'We believe that the creative agencies' investment in strategic media

planning is starting to lag,' COI's group director of marketing

communications, Peter Buchanan, said.

The COI's current roster of creative agencies includes Abbott Mead

Vickers BBDO, which handles the Government's anti-smoking and

drink-driving campaigns, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, which

handles the anti-teen pregnancy campaign, and St Luke's, which developed

the Government's working family tax credit spots.

The planning roster will operate independently from the roster of media

buying agencies appointed by COI last July on three-year contracts.

MediaVest handles the pounds 40.4 million TV buying business, while

MediaCom holds the pounds 36 million press account.

Radio, worth pounds 8.6 million, is handled by OMD and Universal McCann

controls the pounds 3.1 million cinema business.

The planning review comes as the Conservative Party intensifies its

attacks on Labour's outlay on government ads. pounds 62 million was

spent through the COI during the first three months of 2001, when the

government agency became the country's biggest advertiser.

The Opposition has vowed to slash government adspend if it wins the



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