Freuds forced to partner up to repitch for key government health contract

Freuds is believed to have partnered with another agency in order to keep hold of its work for Public Health England (PHE), for which the new government marketing services roster bars it from pitching directly.

Change4Life: One of Public Health England's major campaigns
Change4Life: One of Public Health England's major campaigns

PHE is midway through the first statutory pitch process for the consumer engagement work since Freuds failed to land a place on the roster for high-value contracts awarded last year.

The contest is open only to the agencies on the 'Lot 1' roster of integrated creative agencies appointed to the Government Procurement Service Framework.

The ten agencies on the roster are Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, DLKW Lowe, Engine, Enter, Inferno, Kindred, M&C Saatchi, McCann London, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R and Ogilvy & Mather Group.

While Freuds is unable to repitch alone, according to the terms of the roster Lot 1 agencies can partner with non-roster agencies.

Freuds declined to comment on the details of what it was doing, but a spokeswoman said the agency was "not out of the running".

Freuds has handled the work, which includes the flagship Change4Life anti-obesity campaign for which M&C Saatchi has handled advertising, since 2008.

PHE marketing director Sheila Mitchell declined to say which of the agencies had gone for the brief, but said the process would end on 24 July, with the winning agency likely to be announced in the final week of July.

It will be two years until the next statutory review, with the potential for the work to be extended for another year.

Mitchell said the fees were not being disclosed at the moment and that she was "genuinely open" to what the value of the brief would be.

She said the pitch came as PHE prepared a new "umbrella marketing strategy", to be published in the coming weeks. The strategy has been developed with the intention that PHE will handle all its consumer engagement work as one organisation and it is looking for a single agency to support campaigns across all areas.

Mitchell said the brief would include a broad range of work including campaigns around giving up smoking and alcohol, which have long been priorities, and health issues of growing importance such as cardiovascular disease, blood pressure and dementia.

She said the way the marketing strategy had evolved also reflected "an overall digital shift" and that PHE would be looking at how it can engage with its technology partners.

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