COI Communications is preparing to review its £8m black and ethnic minorities (BME) advertising roster. The tendering process for the statutory review is expected to begin in July.
The roster review is thought to include a strategy rethink as the Government looks at increasing its use of mainstream media channels when trying to reach ethnic minorities. A COI spokeswoman has confirmed the pitch.
The roster currently involves seven specialist agencies and embraces advertising, PR, sponsorship and partnership marketing. It includes Focus Consultancy, Media Moguls, Tag Media, Uproar and Equality Foundation, TMP Worldwide and The Watch-Men Agency.
The appointment of the seven agencies in 2004 marked the first time the Whitehall department had committed to an exclusive “ethnic” roster. In the past the COI had to go through a lengthy tender process via the Official Journal of the European Union for every campaign designed to target the ethnic minorities.
Government campaigns aimed at ethnic minorities have included recruitment to the armed forces and organ donation.
In 2004 a Government report showed that the UK’s ethnic minority population believed non-public sector advertisers frequently portray them as stereotypes or caricatures.
The study also revealed that though the specialist ethnic media was essential when communicating with older people in that demographic, the youth media market remained multicultural.
The study was part of the COI’s Common Good Research programme, looking at attitudes and audiences relevant to all public bodies.