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Ad agencies lash out at CSO over census pitches

Public sector agencies are meant to seek five pitches. The CSO wants nine.

The 2011 Census will likely see the population of Ireland exceed 4.5m for the first time since before the Great Famine.
Image: Sreejith K via Flickr

A SERIES OF ADVERTISING AGENCIES has criticised the decision of the Central Statistics Office (CSO) to ask nine agencies to pitch for the advertising and media handling account for the 2011 Census, in contravention of advertising practice.

The CSO issued the tender for the “publicity and advertising services” of next year’s census in July, with the deadline for tender submissions passing two weeks ago. Now the body has asked nine of the parties submitting tenders to pitch for the contract – when the guidelines of the Institute of Advertising Practitioners of Ireland (IAPI) say that public bodies should seek five pitches.

The managing director of one agency told trade news site AdWorld.ie that “getting eight or nine agencies to pitch for a piece of business is absolutely crazy”, explaining that “huge resources are tied up in the whole pitch process in terms of money, time and the people needed to prepare the pitch.

“To ask nine agencies to throw their hat in the ring is asking a lot of the advertising industry at a time when it can ill afford it.”

The IAPI, when drawing up the guidelines in 2008, estimated that a creative agency would face a bill of €80,000, and a media agency a bill of €33,000, to pitch for a piece of business worth about €1.5m.

The CSO’s tender suggested that the work would be worth about €1.2m over the four or five months leading to May 2011 when the census takes place. The contract includes radio, press, TV and billboard advertising.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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