Adam&eve wins HMRC task to make us love the taxman

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, not one of the UK’s best-loved institutions, has appointed adam&eveDDB and re-appointed media agency MG OMD (once the rather more meaningful Manning Gottlieb Media) to handle its account, formerly with Engine.

A&E won a place on the Government ad roster earlier this year. The contract runs for three years.

A&E is now the UK’s second biggest creative agency behind Omnicom sibling AMV BBDO by billings and probably the biggest by revenue. Such size means that new business opportunities become thin on the ground, in terms of major accounts anyway, so the Government seal of approval is welcome. It will no doubt send a shiver through other government agencies.

Why is HMRC so unpopular? There are a number of reasons: nobody likes paying taxes and, since the Labour government welded taxation and customs (mostly VAT) together HMRC has become cumbersome in the extreme. It takes an unconscionable amount to time to speak to anyone on the phone there.

HMRC is frequently pilloried for its failure to extract taxes from fat corporations, doing a number of what look suspiciously like sweetheart deals with such outfits over the years. HMRC is also responsible for supplying information to the Department of Work and Pensions for the widely loathed new Universal Credit.

So there’s plenty for the new agency to go on. Presumably one of its first tasks will be to get more of us to do HMRC’s work for it by going online.

A&E is good with institutions, handling Halifax and Lloyds (effectively institutions as they’re underpinned by taxpayers). Doubt that we’ll be seeing the likes of Halifax’s Top Cat performing for HMRC but you never know.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.