NEWS: O&M wins Government nursery voucher scheme ads

Ogilvy and Mather has been given the task of promoting the Government’s controversial new scheme to offer parents vouchers for nursery school places.

Ogilvy and Mather has been given the task of promoting the Government’s

controversial new scheme to offer parents vouchers for nursery school

places.



Although initially only pounds 700,000, the agency stands to gain the

much bigger prize of a nationwide campaign if the pilot scheme is

successful.



The Department for Education and Employment appointed O&M without a

pitch because of its role as a stand-by agency for the Central Office of

Information.



Initially, it will involve ads in local newspapers and possibly local

radio in the four trial areas - Norfolk and the London boroughs of

Westminster, Wandsworth, and Kensington and Chelsea.



Posters will be displayed in supermarkets, where leaflets will be handed

to parents. They will promote a telephone hotline for parents.



‘The advertising will also act as a pilot scheme,’ said a Government

source. The initiative is due to be extended to all 100 local education

authorities in 1997, when the ad budget could rise to pounds 2 million.

By then, parents of all four-year-olds will be entitled to vouchers

worth pounds 1,100 towards the cost of local authority, private or

voluntary nursery education.



However, Labour councils are boycotting the project because Labour

argues that the huge demand for nursery places negates the need for

advertising. It says the budget would be better spent on providing more

places.



Labour claims the pounds 5 million total cost of the pilot scheme could

have provided an extra 4,000 places.



But Whitehall officials argued that the Government had a duty to promote

the scheme to make it work. They said the ads would be carefully

targeted to avoid waste.



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