The $40m (25m) European Union account to promote the nutritional benefits of olive oil has once again degenerated into farce, leaving agencies confused and angry.
The EU shortlisted 85 European advertising agencies to pitch for the business, from an original list of more than 200.
It is now inviting them to re-apply by October 20 following what it describes as “an internal procedure failure”.
Agencies pitched to the EU agriculture ministry DG6 (MW March 10) but the procedure used did not conform to standard EU ones for tendering, so the process now has to start all over again.
It also understood the EU was unhappy with the fees agencies were demanding before they would pitch.
One agency source says: “It is a complete waste of bloody time and has cost us quite lot to pursue.”
Another comments: “I don’t think we’ve been able to crack how to work with the EU at all.”
None of them will complain publicly because, despite the bureaucratic nature of the EU, other lucrative accounts are expected to be put out to tender.
The eventual winning agency is expected to produce a campaign detailing the benefits of olive oil as part of a balanced diet.