Magazine article Marketing

Tory Party PR Backfires

Magazine article Marketing

Tory Party PR Backfires

Article excerpt

Tory Party PR backfires

Tory Party plans to beef up Government publicity with unpaid "advisers" last week posed a threat to the 20m [pounds] advertising contract for electricity privatisation.

Ad agency WCRS Mathews Marcantonio -- on the privatisation shortlist -- was at the centre of a political storm over chairman Robin Wight's alleged links with the Tory scheme.

The Tories declared the party PR plan scrapped after Labour tabled a formal Commons protest implying a conflict of political interests over the WCRS involvement. Observers believe the Tory blunder could force a referral to the Cabinet Office for a ruling on propriety. Guidelines for Government ad contracts are designed to rule out even suspicion of political bias.

Labour's protest stated that parliament would deplore the appointment of WCRS for the power privatisation following the Tory announcement that Wight was to be unpaid PR adviser to Education Secretary John MacGregor.

The Labour motion noted that Tim Bell, deputy chairman of communications and PR agency Lowe Howard-Spink and Bell, was also a member of the selection panel for the privatisation contract. …

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