Millennium admits it has used M&C for five months

The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has revealed that M&C Saatchi has been working as its advertising agency since February. M&C is also one of the five agencies shortlisted for the 16m account.

The NMEC is the public body set up to run the Greenwich-based millennium celebrations, and it says M&C was brought in at the same time it hired Bill Muirhead, a partner with a 20 per cent stake in M&C, as acting communications director (MW February 14). It refuses to rule out the possibility of the agency being hired for the account when the pitches take place next month.

Muirhead could stand to make substantial personal gain if M&C wins the business.

A spokesman for the NMEC says: “We have been taking interim advice from M&C Saatchi in the absence of a retained agency on an ad-hoc basis. There has not been a formal contract. They have been doing work for us on marketing and advertising advice.”

The company denies there is a conflict of interest in having its acting communications director – who advises on marketing and advertising – also working as a partner in the advertising agency which carries out work for it.

Other agencies on the list for the NMEC account include Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, TBWA/ Simons Palmer, Ogilvy & Mather and Leo Burnett, although the NMEC refuses to confirm the list.

The revelation comes amid criticism of the way the Millennium Dome builder has conducted the pitch for its account.

The spokesman for the company says: “He [Muirhead] has attended board meetings and given advice on advertising and marketing.” But he says Muirhead had no role in drawing up the shortlist of advertising agencies. Muirhead himself refused to comment and referred enquiries to the NMEC, while no one at M&C Saatchi was available when Marketing Week went to press.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here