Ogilvy and Mather has been given the task of promoting the Government’s
controversial new scheme to offer parents vouchers for nursery school
Although initially only pounds 700,000, the agency stands to gain the
much bigger prize of a nationwide campaign if the pilot scheme is
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
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
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.