Labour ministers have ordered their first campaign review since the
general election, involving a pounds 1.5 million push to promote a
network of business advice centres.
Grey Integrated, the incumbent agency, will be challenged for the
Business Links account by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, Young & Rubicam and
CDP in a mid-August pitch.
Grey has promoted the Business Links network for the past two years and
would normally have retained the task for another two years before
having to repitch. However, Barbara Roche, the Department of Trade and
Industry’s minister responsible for small businesses, wants to breathe
new life into the initiative and has ordered an immediate review.
There have been complaints from MPs and some businessmen that the
previous Tory government did not do enough to promote the network of 200
one-stop business advice shops.
However, the Central Office of Information has been pleased with Grey’s
work. Awareness levels of the centres rose significantly after a
nationwide campaign in June last year, followed by bursts in September
’Grey has done a very good job,’ one official said.
Roger Edwards, the chairman of Grey, was unavailable for comment.
Despite the minister’s desire to relaunch the Business Links campaign,
the budget is unlikely to increase.
Y&R and CDP are also on a shortlist for a new account to promote the
Office of Electricity Regulation, a consumer watchdog that will oversee
the introduction of competition in the electricity industry from next
Also pitching next month will be TBWA Simons Palmer and Lowe
Although no budget for the integrated marketing campaign has been fixed,
it is expected to be worth at least pounds 1 million.