The European Commission’s agriculture wing is set to appoint agencies to
handle its pounds 24 million promotional campaign for olive oil, almost
two years after the business was first advertised.
Fabio Gencarelli, head of promotion for agricultural products at
Directorate General VI, said that Grayling would handle work in the UK
and Ireland while advertising agency Lintas would run a campaign in the
four olive oil-producing countries: Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece.
Gencarelli declined to reveal which other firms had been chosen to
handle specific tasks in other countries. However, he did say that the
public relations spend for the two- year campaign would account for
about 35 per cent of the total budget, or pounds 8.4 million.
He stressed that the appointments were provisional and subject to the
approval of the Commission’s all powerful Comite Consultatif des Achats
et Marches (CCAM), which is due to meet this week. Its recommendations
will be officially adopted by the Commission at the end of May.
The appointments bring to an end a saga which began in July 1994 when
the call for tender was first advertised in the Official Journal of the
European Communities. More than 90 advertising and PR agencies submitted
bids for the pan-European campaign to promote olive oil as healthy and
After lengthy delays, a shortlist of 15 agencies was drawn up in March
1995 with a decision expected the following July. In September the CCAM
stunned observers by scrapping the pitching procedure for being ‘anti-
competitive’ and ordering a new call for tender (PR Week, 29 September,
Because of sensitivity over the issue no one at Grayling or Lintas was
willing to comment on their appointments.
‘We have not officially heard anything from the Commission,’ said Nigel
Kennedy, managing director of Grayling in London, ‘We hope to hear soon
and would very much like to work for them.’