The outdoor company, Mills and Allen, is clamping down on the subletting
of its poster sites to political parties in the run-up to the next
The move follows Labour Party accusations of underhand tactics by the
Tories during the last general election, when its agency, Saatchi and
Saatchi, booked posters in Gillette’s name, without Gillette’s
Mills and Allen, which commands a 25 per cent share of 48-sheet poster
sites in the UK, is writing to poster specialists and relevant agencies
this week, warning them that all bookings in place on the day the
general election is announced must be honoured by the clients concerned.
‘It will not be acceptable to sublet, assign or broker the advertising
space to a ‘third’ party - including a political party,’ M&A’s
commercial director, David Pugh, said.
Pugh explained that advertisers who want to postpone their campaigns -
because they don’t want to compete for consumers’ attention in the
build-up to an election - will be able to do so, provided M&A can resell
the space to another advertiser and on the proviso that the advertiser
runs the booked campaign within three months of the original starting
Tobacco and brewing companies have come under fire from the Labour Party
during the the last two general elections for providing space for the
Conservative Party. The two biggest-spending sectors in outdoor
advertising are now motoring and financial services.
During previous election campaigns, ads have allegedly been switched at
the last moment to ensure that there were no early leaks about a party’s
strategy before the posters went up.
Pugh admitted that the new contracts would help M&A increase revenue by
charging premiums for late bookings for political campaigns.
Francis Goodwin, managing director of Maiden Roadside, said that the
company already had contracts prohibiting subletting. He said that the
practice should be less of a problem during the next general election,
as considerably less space is booked 12 months in advance than it was at
the last election.