DTLR snubs COI with £20m in-house review

COI’s stranglehold over Government agency appointments is weakened by the DTLR’s review plan

The Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) is to create a roster of creative and media agencies for its £20m advertising business.

The move is a snub to COI Communications, as this is understood to be the first time a Government department has decided to set up its own roster of agencies independently from it. DTLR marketing director Charles Skinner will oversee the pitch.

The DTLR is responsible for, among other things, road safety, regeneration, planning, local transport, and fire safety. It aims to appoint a roster of six creative agencies and two media agencies.

The decision by the DTLR has been perceived by many in the industry as a setback for COI, when an increasing number of Government departments and organisations, such as the Food Standards Agency and University of Life, are using its services.

COI chief executive Carol Fisher denies there is any friction between COI and the DTLR and adds: “It is not a setback. I categorically deny that. We have a premium service at COI, but we do not want to be a monopoly service. Clients are perfectly entitled to go off and do their own thing, but most of the time they come back because they realise it is not that easy.”

A DTLR spokesman says: “The DTLR thinks it has the necessary in-house experience and is testing the market.”

Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO handles DTLR’s £10m road safety account, which includes drink-driving, rear seatbelts awareness and speeding. D’Arcy handles the £1m child road safety work, while MediaVest is responsible for media buying. Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper holds the £9m fire safety account, which was transferred to the DTLR from the Home Office after this year’s General Election. The annual anti-drink-driving campaign will break on December 4. The ads will be a continuation of AMV.BBDO’s “Think” road safety campaign.

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