Public sector needs private help to offset cutbacks

The PR industry has broadly welcomed the use of private sector sponsorship of major public sector campaigns to help offset cutbacks in public spending.

2012 Olympics: £1bn funding from private sector
2012 Olympics: £1bn funding from private sector

The increasing trend was illustrated by government plans outlined on Friday to launch a £1bn fund for marketing and public relations for British tourism around the 2012 Olympics.

The fund will be financed by the private sector working in conjunction with the Government.

Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt said: 'My priority is to make sure that London 2012 gets it right; that we draw on all these lessons to produce the best tourism marketing plan that any country has ever had.

'That is why I am announcing today that I want to create a new fund with the aim of generating £1bn worth of PR and marketing activity in our 20 priority markets in the years around 2012.'

Band & Brown head of public sector Simon Francis said this was a positive move: 'Bringing partners to work together is always the most effective way for public sector marketing to operate. Giving the private sector the opportunity to input and help shape this activity is a welcome and innovative approach to a vital campaign.'

Francis added that such activity would mean 'potentially redefining the brand protection guidelines around the Olympics'.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport would also have to look at how existing sponsors would react to any potential broadening of corporate involvement in the London 2012.

Hunt promised to increase the domestic tourism spend by UK residents to 50 per cent of the total, while reviewing the 'web of quangos' that affected tourism.

Detailed plans of how this fund will work will be published by the end of September.

HOW I SEE IT

Mike Morgan

CEO, Red Consultancy

Like every modern Olympics, 2012 is all about branding the host country.

If this public/private model is about the best minds working to give the UK a clear, modern identity to attract tourists and business investors then it's come at the right time. 2012 is a once-in-a-generation moment.

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