COI appoints JWT to anti-smuggling brief

The Central Office of Information has appointed JWT (Manchester) to handle a campaign against tobacco and alcohol smuggling an activity which costs the Treasury 1.5bn in lost taxes a year.

The 3m campaign will encourage people to inform on anyone they suspect of this type of activity. The ads will break in the summer and run in national press, posters, and TV.

JWT won the account in a three-way pitch against BDH TBWA and McCann-Erickson (Manchester).

In the March Budget, Chancellor Gordon Brown promised action to curb tobacco and alcohol smuggling. He allocated an extra 35m to the Customs & Excise department over the next three years, part of which will be used to create an extra 100 jobs for customs officers.

In recent years, smuggling by day-trippers and organised gangs has thrived because taxes are higher in the UK than in some parts of the continent. For example, a standard packet of cigarettes in the UK costs 3.82, while in France the same pack costs 1.98. Similar savings can be made on beer and spirits.

Both the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association and the Brewers & Licensed Retailers’ Association have lobbied the Treasury to cut duties in order to reduce smuggling.

However, prosecuting smugglers remains the Government’s policy.


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