Peter Buchanan, deputy chief executive of the COI, has told agencies that the advertising and marketing plans have been put in place to deliver savings of around £160m, as part of the anticipated swingeing cuts under the new Coalition Government.
In a letter dated 2 June, Buchanan also announces a spending freeze that "will take effect immediately and will mean a reduction in the volume of work going through COI" until the end of the 2010/11 financial year.
The COI spent £540m on marketing in the year to the end of March 2009. This includes £211m on traditional advertising and a further £40m on digital, according to the COI's annual report.
The Government has previously stated that despite the cut-backs "essential marketing" campaigns will continue. In this week's letter, Buchanan outlines the definitions of essential marketing as:
- Where the government has a duty to provide people with information e.g. changes to legislation or public services
- Where providing the public with information is critical to the effective running of the country eg information about paying taxes, recruitment of armed forces
- Where there is unequivocal evidence that campaigns deliver measurable benefits relating directly to immediate public health and safety
The deputy chief executive claimed there had been no decisions on specific campaigns that would be affected.