Agencies were warned this week that they will need to become much
better at delivering through-the-line campaigns if they are to win
future government business.
The warning came as the Central Office of Information unveiled plans to
give top priority to integrated campaigns - a move that is expected to
result in a cut in the Government’s pounds 63 million-a-year advertising
The COI has merged its advertising, direct marketing and promotions, and
research divisions into a new marketing communications department to cut
costs and ensure a more integrated approach. Some 40 per cent of its
briefs from Whitehall departments demand through-the-line work and, in
the past, COI divisions were competing against each other.
Peter Buchanan, the new director of marketing communications who was
previously head of advertising, said the shake-up would enable the COI
to deliver better value for money for government departments through
more effective budget setting and getting the right mix of marketing
For example, smaller departments might be advised that direct mail is a
better way to reach their target audience than advertising.
Buchanan said: ’I could envisage a bit less spent on advertising and a
wider investment in techniques like direct marketing. The aim is to make
sure we get the message across as efficiently as possible.’
The COI chief said the change reflected private sector practice, but
warned that agencies on the Government’s roster would have to ’get their
act together’ on integrated work.
’One or two agencies do it quite well but the majority still seem to
operate as independent businesses and profit centres,’ he said. ’When
they are asked to respond in an integrated fashion, somehow it does not
quite come together.
’Agencies that deliver through-the-line campaigns would win new
That is an area of opportunity. If agencies can set out their stall
better on integrated marketing, they would see a benefit,’ he added.