Last Tuesday the Cabinet Office announced that the freeze will continue to limit marketing to ‘essential exp-enditure’ until 2015.
So far this policy has resulted in only a handful of PR briefs being iss-ued by the COI or government departments since it began last May.
However, central approval is now required for any campaign costing over £100,000, rather than the £25,000 set under the temporary measures.
Band & Brown Communications managing partner Simon Francis said the new rule could benefit the PR industry.
‘All PR agencies will be able to think of ways they could develop a highly effective
campaign for under £100,000,’ said Francis. ‘The same, probably, can’t be said for other marketing disciplines.’
Francis added civil serv-ants, ministers and the COI would now be more likely to go to a PR agency as the ‘first port of call’ for external support.
‘This not only means we may see an increase in briefs for PR agencies, but that PR will find itself engaged before other creative disciplines.’
Kindred director Lorna Gozzard said an outright rev-ersal of the freeze was unlikely. ‘Smart agencies will have div-ersified and built new income streams, rather than simply waiting for government budgets to return,’ added Gozzard.
The Cabinet Office reports that £133m was saved on advertising and marketing spending as a result of the temporary measures. On announcing the extended freeze, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny
Alexander said ‘a seismic shift in Whitehall’s spending culture is needed’.