Between the Lines: COI shortlist is anything but

COI's decision to appoint 115 agencies to its £9 million digital roster (page 1) is staggering: most agencies felt its previous 45-strong roster was too long and were hoping this review would produce a pared-down list rather than an expanded one.

Agencies have also long complained about government regulations that require a pitch to be held for every online brief that comes up, particularly when the budgets involved are often so small.

In its defence, COI says the number and range of the projects it handles requires an extensive list, and it's true that it has long been a market-leader in the use of new technology to communicate with its audiences.

However, most of the best digital agencies offer a similarly wide range of services to clients, making the need to appoint so many small specialists look questionable, to say the least.

Since the start of 2006, more and more clients have started to appoint retained digital agencies and are showing signs of taking the medium more seriously. It's a shame that COI, long known as a digital pioneer, seems to be going the other way.

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