COI calls pitch for £8m DVLA ad task

COI Communications has kicked off a pitch to find a creative agency to handle an £8 million initiative for the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

COI has approached WCRS, BMP DDB, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners and Leo Burnett about an advertising brief to alert motorists to changes in the law relating to vehicle registration. Media planning will be handled by MediaVest.

The campaign, which is due to launch in September, will aim to warn motorists that they must re-licence their vehicle or face prosecution under a new offence of being the registered keeper of an unlicensed vehicle. The legislation comes into effect from 1 November.

The campaign will also highlight plans to issue new log books for all vehicles during 2004. The old logbooks will become invalid in 2005.

The project is in addition to the DVLA creative account, which is held by Leo Burnett. It inherited the business when Leo Burnett's Publicis Groupe parent dismembered the D'Arcy network last year. D'Arcy handled the main creative account for the DVLA's road tax evasion strategy. It picked up the awareness brief and developed a £3 million drive that broke last summer.

The DVLA's primary aims are to promote road safety, general law enforcement and crime reduction by maintaining registers of drivers and vehicles. It also collects taxation through vehicle excise duty. The new campaign will form part of a wider initiative aimed at tackling the problem of uninsured motoring, abandoned cars, vehicle-related crime and unlicensed vehicles on UK roads.

Jeff Mumford, the project executive at the DVLA, said: "The new legislation will help us to deal with the problems relating to vehicle registration and licensing, and the campaign will help explain what these changes mean for motorists."

COI last called a pitch on behalf of the DVLA in April last year to highlight a change in the procedure for applying for road tax, and the importance of vehicle registration papers to help reduce car crime.

The same creative agencies as those shortlisted this time paired with media roster agencies for the business last year: D'Arcy (now Leo Burnett) and MediaVest; DLKW & Partners and Mediaedge: cia; BMP and Manning Gottlieb OMD; and Leo Burnett and ZenithOptimedia.

The activity was part of a programme recommended by the Vehicle Crime Reduction Team to highlight the importance of the vehicle registration document V5 when buying second-hand cars. The changes in the registration procedure were formally introduced on 1 February.

D'Arcy had previously created print and poster work for the DVLA showing famous cars, including the Thunderbirds character Lady Penelope's car and the Batmobile, which had been clamped for not paying road tax.