NEWS: Maher Bird wins place on COI roster for benefit launch task

Maher Bird Associates has secured a place on the Central Office of Information’s agency roster with the launch of an earnings top-up scheme for the Department of Social Security.

Maher Bird Associates has secured a place on the Central Office of

Information’s agency roster with the launch of an earnings top-up scheme

for the Department of Social Security.



An integrated campaign will break in eight regions across the country in

October, launching the pilot scheme with a pounds 1.2 million spend in

the first six months. The trial period will last for three years.



Maher Bird beat Collett Dickenson Pearce, Ogilvy and Mather Direct and

Grey Integrated to win the account.



Stephen Maher, the managing director of Maher Bird, said: ‘We are

thrilled to be working with the COI so early on.’ The agency is two-and-

a-half years old.



A tightly targeted through-the-line campaign has been chosen for the

launch. Because the new scheme will only be available in certain

regions, the DSS must avoid overspill in its advertising to prevent

people applying for a benefit that is not operating in their area.



Marc Michaels, the COI’s head of direct marketing, said: ‘We needed a

powerful message that also displays a high degree of sensitivity and

Maher Bird came up with both.’



Michaels stressed that the brief was a difficult one to crack, as the

new scheme is also limited to people who are in work, and therefore

might not think they qualify for any benefits.



A lot of traditional media is ruled out by the dangers of overspill, but

radio and posters will be used where possible.



Manning Gottlieb Media has been appointed to handle the media on the

account.



The new scheme is described as ‘family credit without the family’, and

is designed as a supplementary benefit for people who are in work but on

low incomes.



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