Zenith Media has kept its grip on the pounds 6 million Central Office of
Information regional press buying account in the face of stiff
competition from the Media Centre.
A statutory review was first called in March and four agencies were
invited to pitch: BMP DDB, Lowe Howard-Spink, the Media Centre and the
incumbent (Campaign,15 March).
Zenith was the favourite to retain the account, but the Media Centre
came close to a shock win, according to Peter Buchanan, the COI’s
director of advertising.
Buchanan said: ‘The presentations were all well prepared and the Media
Centre was outstanding. However, Zenith pipped it at the post. Zenith’s
historical performance on the account and its dominance in the regional
marketplace were important factors in our decision.’
The pitch represented the first review of the business since Zenith
picked up the centralised account in 1991 and was conducted in line with
the COI’s five-year statutory review policy.
The task involves implementational media planning and buying for any
government department that wishes to use the regional press. Strategic
media planning is the remit of the various creative agencies on the COI
The Media Centre runs the COI’s centralised TV buying. The pounds 35
million national press-buying business is carried out by individual
agencies and monitored by Leo Burnett.
Christine Walker, the chief executive of Zenith, said: ‘We have a good
view of how the regional local market is changing, especially the
pressures on classified from interactive. We know our media.’
The review gave the COI an opportunity to re-establish itself as the
central power behind government advertising, after individual government
departments were given the right to deal with advertising agencies
directly in January.