DIARY: Inflated media spend claims fail to impress the Campaign hacks

The keeper of Campaign's much-perused new-business performance league has had a frustrating year. It might be the season to be merry, but it seems the industry is far more interested in porkie pies than mince pies.

With the plethora of dotcom launches, agencies and their new hip clients have taken to exaggerating with gusto about their planned media spend.

But beware, our gatekeeper is now able to spot bullshit at 50 paces.

And, with the benefit of hindsight, it is now possible to name and shame some of the biggest offenders.

Take Soul, for example. The fledgling shop was so determined to join the league that it persuaded its Xilerate client to write a letter to Campaign promising a pounds 9 million spend. A few months later, when CIA demanded to be credited with the media win, it put the value at pounds 1.2 million. 'Which is closer to the truth?' you might ask. Well, in three months it has, in fact, spent only pounds 300,000 ... so shame on you.

M&C Saatchi deserves a special mention for repeat offences. It claimed Vogue.com was worth pounds 4 million - but its media agency, Manning Gottlieb Media, put the spend at pounds 1 million. MMS's figure: pounds 152,000. There is stretching the truth, and then there are downright porkies.

The league's intrepid investigative reporter has also exposed M&C's Misys win, which was claimed to be worth pounds 10 million, but later revealed as pounds 5 million. And M&C continues to champion the cause of being economical with the truth, as its InStyle magazine win - apparently worth a whopping pounds 5 million - has emerged as being closer to half that. Go and stand in the corner right now.

TBWA/London too is keen to dominate the league, sending client confirmation of a pounds 10 million spend for Clickmango. But the site only spent about pounds 100,000 before it went belly up.

And we will be checking at the end of next year if Orange does indeed cough up its promised pounds 60 million through Lowe Lintas. Likewise, will Alliance & Leicester spend its promised pounds 45 mill-ion through Manning Gottlieb Media? We'll be watching ...

So make it your new year's resolution to supply Campaign with honest spend forecasts. Or face being named and shamed next year. You have been warned.

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