EDITORIAL: New Deal ads suggest a change of culture at COI

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.

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

its beliefs.



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



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