NEWS: Grayling and Lintas slip into EC olive oil deal

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.

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

nutritional.



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,

1995).



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.’



Leader, p9



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