NEWS: Zenith holds on to pounds 6m COI business

Zenith Media has kept its grip on the pounds 6 million Central Office of Information regional press buying account in the face of stiff competition from the Media Centre.

Zenith Media has kept its grip on the pounds 6 million Central Office of

Information regional press buying account in the face of stiff

competition from the Media Centre.



A statutory review was first called in March and four agencies were

invited to pitch: BMP DDB, Lowe Howard-Spink, the Media Centre and the

incumbent (Campaign,15 March).



Zenith was the favourite to retain the account, but the Media Centre

came close to a shock win, according to Peter Buchanan, the COI’s

director of advertising.



Buchanan said: ‘The presentations were all well prepared and the Media

Centre was outstanding. However, Zenith pipped it at the post. Zenith’s

historical performance on the account and its dominance in the regional

marketplace were important factors in our decision.’



The pitch represented the first review of the business since Zenith

picked up the centralised account in 1991 and was conducted in line with

the COI’s five-year statutory review policy.



The task involves implementational media planning and buying for any

government department that wishes to use the regional press. Strategic

media planning is the remit of the various creative agencies on the COI

roster.



The Media Centre runs the COI’s centralised TV buying. The pounds 35

million national press-buying business is carried out by individual

agencies and monitored by Leo Burnett.



Christine Walker, the chief executive of Zenith, said: ‘We have a good

view of how the regional local market is changing, especially the

pressures on classified from interactive. We know our media.’



The review gave the COI an opportunity to re-establish itself as the

central power behind government advertising, after individual government

departments were given the right to deal with advertising agencies

directly in January.



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