International news - 60 PR agencies fight it out for EC olive oil contract

BRUSSELS: The European Commission has received tenders from 60 agencies bidding to handle consumer and healthcare PR for olive oil.

BRUSSELS: The European Commission has received tenders from 60 agencies bidding to handle consumer and healthcare PR for olive oil.

The Commission will appoint up to 14 agencies to share an expected $33 million in fees over three years.

The olive oil campaign, the seventh in a rolling program of campaigns funded by the Commission, will kick off in spring 1999, and will promote oil produced in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece.

One PR agency will handle a healthcare PR campaign across the member states. The previous one was handled by Hill & Knowlton's European healthcare network, Eurosciences Communication, and was worth nearly $5m in fees over two years.

Charles Barker, Shire Hall Group and Eurosciences are among those pitching for the next healthcare campaign.

In addition, a number of agencies will be hired for consumer campaigns in the 15 member states. The consumer PR fees for the last campaign were worth almost $30m.

Charles Barker is understood to be pitching for the UK and Ireland account, worth $1,165,000 over three years.

For the last consumer campaign, which ended July 1997, the EC retained agencies in 12 countries, including Grayling for the UK and Ireland; Information et Entreprise in France; CBO in Italy; and Tactics in Spain and Portugal.

The healthcare agency will promote scientific knowledge on the nutritional values of olive oil to doctors, nurses, nutritionists and specialist publications.

The consumer agencies will be tasked with boosting consumption.

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