NSPCC initiates agency talks for £5m account

The NSPCC is in talks with agencies about its £5 million advertising account. A number of undisclosed agencies has been approached for credentials.

However, John Grounds, the director of communications at the NSPCC, denied the charity had approached any advertising agencies. "It is absolutely not the case, where this information is coming from I don't know. We are happy with Saatchis and have no plans to conduct a review. The NSPCC doesn't have a statutory review policy," he said.

The news comes in the same week that the incumbent Saatchi & Saatchi's work - featuring cartoon children suffering at the hands of violent parents - picked up the accolades of best TV commercial and best cinema ad of the year at the BTAA Awards.

Saatchis has held the account for almost 20 years. It retained the business despite advances by Court Burkitt and WCRS in a review, which was held in 1999.

The NSPCC also uses WWAV Rapp Collins for its direct marketing, and ZenithOptimedia handles media.

The charity's high-profile creative work has always courted controversy.

Its animated campaign, which was directed by Frank Budgen, attracted 127 complaints to the Independent Television Commission, but they were all rejected.

It has also been criticised for ploughing too much of its funding into advertising and not enough into its core services, such as helplines and advice centres.

A report in The Daily Telegraph highlighted that the NSPCC spends around £15 million on advertising campaigns, about 18 per cent of its overall budget.

The NSPCC has also been criticised by an inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie, who was beaten and starved by her aunt and boyfriend.

Saatchis' latest tranche of ads in the Full Stop campaign compares a baby's cries with a pneumatic drill and the demands of a toddler with the constant shouts of an army officer, to illustrate the stress that young children's normal behaviour puts people under.

The agency's animated work for the NSPCC was selected as runner-up for Campaign of the Year by both Campaign magazine and at the recent Creative Circle awards.

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