EU slammed for delay in processing olive oil pitch

The European Union’s system of choosing advertising agencies for its projects has been attacked as too bureaucratic, after more than 150 agencies pitched by post for an £18m olive oil campaign to promote olive oil.

The business was put out to tender in the EU’s official journal, the final date for submissions being October 15 last year. The final decision is expected in late April, though Paola di Discordia at the European Association of Advertising Agencies expected a result at the end of last month.

The EU has been swamped by more than 150 pitches from agencies across Europe.

“We submitted our proposals and it feels like we’ve thrown it into a black hole; we’ve heard nothing since,” says one agency source. “This is the first EU pitch that I’ve worked on and I hope it will be the last.”

The process has been delayed further by the need to translate the pitches into the main languages of the community. At least one pitch was received in Danish – a language apparently not known to members on any of the committees handling the account.

“Maybe there should be more interviewing to cut down on the number of agencies involved at the start,” says Elaine Cruickshanks, managing director at Hill & Knowlton Brussels, the PR agency which pitched with J Walter Thompson London for the account.

Ogilvy & Mather London is also known to be involved.

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