Magazine article Marketing

Millenium Bids Probed by MPs

Magazine article Marketing

Millenium Bids Probed by MPs

Article excerpt

Peter Mandelson, minister without portfolio, faced a grilling from MPs this week over his handling of the [pounds]16m account pitch for the Millennium Dome, which was awarded to M&C Saatchi earlier this year.

British Airways chief executive Robert Ayling and Sir Michael Grade, both of whom are directors of the New Millennium Experience Company, were also forced to defend the company's record in securing sponsors for the event, which is expected to cost [pounds]750m.

The appointment of M&C Saatchi sparked controversy when agencies which had attempted to win the business claimed the pitch had been rushed.

Critics also claimed M&C Saatchi had an unfair advantage, due to the presence of one of its directors, Bill Muirhead, on the board of the Millennium Experience company.

Members of the culture, media and sport select committee asked whether Mandelson had considered excluding M&C Saatchi from bidding for the advertising and media-buying contract.

He replied: "M&C Saatchi is one of Britain's premier ad companies and to deny the Millennium Experience Company the possibility of employing such an agency would have been wrong. …

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