Irish food body to appoint agency for controversial 4m beef ad blitz

The Irish Food Board is poised to appoint an agency to implement its new strategy for marketing Irish beef in European Union markets, including a controversial 2m-4m campaign in the UK.

It is understood that a number of London agencies have pitched in partnership with network offices in Dublin.

But the pitch is shrouded in secrecy because of the political sensitivity of the campaign, which would risk inciting further hostilities from British farmers who have suffered loss of income over the BSE crisis.

Irish Food Board head of marketing Shaun Quinn refuses to reveal which agencies have been used in the past. Although it is known that Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi were in talks with the board in the past, no campaigns have ever materialised.

Quinn says: “We expect to make a decision on the new agencies at the end of this week.”

The UK Meat & Livestock Commission is spending at least 10m a year on TV advertising through BMP DDB to try to rekindle consumer confidence in British beef.

News Analysis, page 19

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