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COI may be reprieved after all in Francis Maude’s overhaul

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The Government seems to be going round in circles in its attempt to cut its expenditure on advertising and marketing.

Last year it announced

big cuts to the Central Office of Information and sug

gested that ads might be run on the BBC for free with a US-style Ad Council pitching in to help. This was firmly rebuffed by head of the Advertising Association Tim Lefroy, leaving Cabinet office Secretary Francis Maude, who looks increasingly like an upmarket undertaker these days, a little nonplussed.

Now the latest idea is to move marketers out of individual departments and into a central marketing department which sounds remarkably just like the old COI, only a lot smaller.

Naturally the big departments, which have always regarded the COI rather like an old-style post department, are not too enamoured of this idea. They want to keep their power and relative autonomy and feel that they can better interpret the wishes of their masters than a detached central body.

Of course marketing and advertising for the Government is a complicated business, not least because many initiatives are driven by political rather than effectiveness criteria. Add to that the need to satisfy an array of different “clients”, from civil servants to policy advisers and the whole thing can become a complete nightmare.

Still plenty of ad industry figures, including WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell and Aviva chief marketing communications officer Amanda MacKenzie, have provided their views, so maybe Maude will come up with a system that is cheaper and more effective.

On the other hand…..

Format

The Government seems to be going round in circles in its attempt to cut its expenditure on advertising and marketing.
Last year it announced big cuts to the Central Office of Information and suggested that ads might be run on the BBC for free with a US-style Ad Council pitching in to help. This was firmly rebuffed by head of the Advertising Association Tim Lefroy, leaving Cabinet office Secretary Francis Maude, who looks increasingly like an upmarket undertaker these days, a little nonplussed.
Now the latest idea is to move marketers out of individual departments and into a central marketing department which sounds remarkably just like the old COI, only a lot smaller.
Naturally the big departments, which have always regarded the COI rather like an old-style post department, are not too enamoured of this idea. They want to keep their power and relative autonomy and feel that they can better interpret the wishes of their masters than a detached central body.
Of course marketing and advertising for the Government is a complicated business, not least because many initiatives are driven by political rather than effectiveness criteria. Add to that the need to satisfy an array of different “clients”, from civil servants to policy advisers and the whole thing can become a complete nightmare.
Still plenty of ad industry figures, including WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell and Aviva chief marketing communications officer Amanda MacKenzie, have provided their views, so maybe Maude will come up with a system that is cheaper and more effective.
On the other hand…..
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advertising association Amanda MacKenzie Aviva BBC coi Francis Maude Sir Martin Sorrell Tim Lefroy

About David O'Reilly

David is a former deputy editor of Campaign and writer for a number of leading titles including Management Today and the Sunday Times. He is a partner in The Editorial Partnership.
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