A TV commercial in which a businessman jumps from his seat in a
crowded train to harangue embarrassed passengers about the appeal of the
New Deal may be the best precursor yet of how government advertising
will change under New Labour.
For one thing, the film packs the kind of emotive punch unusual in an
official communication. For another, it was produced by St Luke’s, the
kind of edgy agency that is only just beginning to figure on Central
Office of Information pitch-lists.
What’s becoming clear as Labour renews its experience of power is that
although the amount of government advertising is unlikely to diminish,
its content will be different. Tony Blair’s administration wants to
precipitate social change and agencies working for it will have to share
The Tories may have regarded admen as mere ’hired guns’ but St Luke’s
was assigned New Deal not only because of its commitment but because it
could back its claims to work differently.
COI roster shops should be alert to the changing climate. From now on,
COI pitch-lists are likely to be a mixture of old favourites such as
Ogilvy & Mather and DMB&B, and fresh newcomers.
Nobody suggests long-standing members of the COI agency ’club’ will lose
out wholesale to the latest arrivals. But the entrusting of St Luke’s
with a campaign so central to New Labour’s philosophy suggests there is
no room for complacency