A tall tale of loss and stripping

Much as I understand the temptation not to let the facts get in the way of a good story, I feel I must correct some inaccuracies in your article about my departure from COI Communications (MW June 27).

First, I am on record as having stated that my departure from the COI has nothing to do with Alastair Campbell, with whom I have always had a productive relationship. It is most remiss of untutored individuals who have never spoken to me to seek to make political capital out of nothing.

Second, it is a complete fiction to say that I had been “stripped” of my new role, which only began on April 1. I am disappointed that you saw fit to print this, even though you have not a shred of evidence to support an (unnamed) “insider’s” claim.

Most seriously, you state that the COI’s “goal” is to “help government departments that are inexperienced in running ads put together successful campaigns”. I don’t know where David Benady has been for the past few years, but this is not and never has been our raison d’être. Our recent five-year review recognised COI Communications as Whitehall’s “independent Centre of Marketing Excellence”. Three-quarters of our staff and a third of our revenue have nothing to do with advertising – we have designed over 500 websites, print the National Curriculum and are a top-ten direct marketing and website advertiser. We also work with all of the marketing directors who have been brought into Whitehall from the private sector, on their major advertising campaigns.

Finally, at its very highest – before the recent departmental reorganisation which will see it lose responsibility for certain campaigns – the DTLR advertising loss represented six per cent of our total business, and the department continues to employ many of our other services. It’s scarcely Earth-shattering.

I wonder, in the current climate, how many other communications organisations can claim only one client loss in three-and-a-half years.

Carol Fisher

Chief executive

COI Communications

London SE1

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