Agency wins £3m government COVID-19 social content brief

Topham Guerin, the social media content specialist agency behind controversial campaigns for the Conservative Party, has confirmed it has been awarded a six-month government COVID-19 comms brief worth £3m.

Topham Guerin provided 'strategic and creative direction' for the Enjoy Summer Safely campaign
Topham Guerin provided 'strategic and creative direction' for the Enjoy Summer Safely campaign

As The Guardian has reported, the agency was appointed without a competitive tender. Emergency regulations brought in during the coronavirus meant the government can avoid the usual tendering process.

The brief is to "help advise and generate social media content to support coronavirus communications", the agency confirmed to PRWeek. "This work has helped to ensure that vitally important public health messages are effectively communicated to the public."

The contract has been backdated from 17 March and ends on 16 September. Topham Guerin's work has included providing "strategic and creative direction" for the UK Government's Enjoy Summer Safely campaign aimed at the post-lockdown phase.

The agency was founded in 2016 by New Zealanders Sean Topham and Ben Guerin, who had previously worked on campaigns for Sir Lynton Crosby's agency CTF Partners.

Topham Guerin has worked with right-wing political parties, including the UK Conservatives, most notably when it renamed the party's Twitter account "factcheckUK" during a leaders' debate before last December's general election.

That met with criticism, with the charity Full Fact labeling the move "inappropriate and misleading".

The agency had earlier worked on the election campaign for Australia's Liberal Party in 2019.

A spokesperson for TG, which has offices in London, Sydney, and Auckland, said: "Topham Guerin are proud to have worked with both the New Zealand and UK governments to provide creative and digital support for their all-of-government responses to the COVID-19 crisis."

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