Tories seek agency for general election task

David Cameron's Conservative Party is approaching agencies with a view to holding a pitch for its general election advertising account.

Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor who was recently named as the director of communications for the party, is understood to be managing the process.

The party's campaign strategist, Steve Hilton, and its communications manager, Anna-Maren Ashford, will also be closely involved.

Industry insiders suggest the Tories are seeking a shop with close affiliations to the party and has begun making approaches.

It is understood that the hunt for an agency will not affect the party's current relationship with Karmarama, which was appointed last year to handle the advertising for a range of social issues, such as warning young people of the dangers of getting into debt.

Three weeks ago, Labour kicked off a search to find its own advertising agency ahead of an early election, tipped to be called for May 2008.

The Tories' 2005 election campaign was handled by Mike Moszynski at The Immediate Sales Company, a subsidiary of M&C Saatchi. Lord Saatchi, who was the party's chairman at the time, later came under criticism over the scale of the £2.5 million bill sent to the Tories for the agency's work on the campaign.

M&C Saatchi also created ad campaigns for the 1992 and 1997 general elections.

- Perspective, page 23.