Transparency at heart of government media buying framework

6 October 2017

The government has said it will focus on transparency as the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) prepares to put its £140m media buying framework out to tender.

Alex Aiken, executive director for government communications, said the new framework would “harness the power of digital” advertising but also needed “tackle head on” the risks of a supply chain that is “murky at best and fraudulent at worst”.

Aiken was quoting P&G chief branding officer Marc Pritchard, who in January criticised the digital and online advertising supply chain for its lack of transparency.

There must be a contractual way to support transparency, he said, and added the government would be using advertising trade body ISBA’s media buying framework for inspiration.

The government’s media buying framework is set up by the CCS and renewed every four years. CCS is looking for a single supplier to on-board onto the framework, as it has done previously. The current supplier on the framework is Carat.

Writing in Campaign, Aiken said he wanted to use the framework renewal process as an opportunity for the government to play a leading role in tackling the challenges faced by the advertising industry.

“In a world of increasing volumes of content and diverse channels, how do we maintain meaningful relationships with our audiences? How do we build trust with audiences who are increasingly becoming disengaged? How do we fully take advantage of data and audience insight to strengthen planning and enable more flexible media buying?” he said.

“These are the questions being asked by every industry chief marketing officer and government is no different.”

The procurement is scheduled to start in February 2018, and the government hopes to appoint a new agency by May to allow time for a transition period before the end of the year, when the new framework is planned to go live. 

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