The Labour party is to review its advertising account and may call
a pitch after it has held talks with its agency, BMP DDB.
Senior Labour figures insist BMP will not be dropped against its will,
but there is increasing speculation at Labour’s Millbank headquarters
that a ’parting by mutual consent’ may be on the cards.
Insiders say much will depend on the personal wishes of Chris Powell,
BMP’s chief executive. ’If he is determined to carry on, we will
probably stick with BMP,’ one source said this week. ’But if he wants
more of a back-seat role, we will go out to tender. We won’t hand it to
BMP has, in effect, handled Labour’s advertising since 1985 - initially
through its Shadow Communications Agency before being formally appointed
before last year’s general election.
Tony Blair will be involved in the decision and will rely heavily on the
advice of two close aides - Philip Gould, his pollster, and Peter
Mandelson, the Trade and Industry Secretary - who are both strong
supporters of Powell.
Although BMP played a less prominent role in 1997 than in previous
elections, Labour sources say Powell has emerged as a respected and
influential ’elder statesman’ since Blair became Prime Minister.
The other key figure in Labour’s decision on an agency will be Margaret
McDonagh, the party’s new general secretary. She has already shown her
determination to make changes by calling a review of Labour’s marketing
This has led to the departure of Evans Hunt Scott, its direct marketing
agency, which declined to repitch.
The review is being carried out by Mike Emery, a marketing consultant at
Thomas Cook, who has been seconded to Labour. But his work is unlikely
to include the choice of agency, decisions on which will be taken at a