London 2012 Olympics offers sponsorship for PR services to agencies bidding

Agencies vying for the London 2012 Olympics PR business have been asked whether they are willing to provide their services in return for sponsorship of the Games.

Sponsorship for PR services: 2012 Olympics
Sponsorship for PR services: 2012 Olympics

Six agencies have been selected to tender for the business. According to the tender document which has been seen by PRWeek, they are asked to indicate whether they are interested in pursuing a 'value in kind' deal for a particular sponsorship tier.

The lowest sponsorship tier is worth approximately £10m, causing some sources involved in the process to question the clause. 'The account is worth about £2m over the next two and a half years. So why would you put up £10m (in services)?'

London 2012 director of comms and public affairs Jackie Brock-Doyle defended the clause, saying it was a standard part of all 2012 contracts. 'What we do with all our contracts is tell people about sponsorship. How they want to structure their proposals is up to them.'

Earlier this year, McCann Erickson was awarded advertising duties for the 2012 games in return for £10m worth of tier-three sponsorship, rather than a fee. Brock-Doyle said that 'comparing industry sectors is not useful,' but stopped short of saying that a 'value in kind' proposal would not influence the tender's eventual outcome.

'What we will be judging agencies on is creativity, deliverability and value for money' she said. 'Nobody is dictating anything and we've asked them to come back with proposals.'

It is understood that agencies from WPP, Chime Communications, Publicis Groupe, Interpublic Groupe and Edelman are in the running for the account. Proposals are expected to be submitted soon, prior to presentations in mid-January and a decision by the start of February 2010.

The account does not include press office work, but does cover a wide range of activities including PR for the various event, licensing, ticketing, mascot and education programmes. The successful agency is also required to provide public affairs and political monitoring.

Agencies will be selected according to five criteria: quality of proposal; strength of network; creativity; strength and quality of team; and commercial offer.

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