New guidelines: Fed as contracts likely to start rolling

Expect reviews for federal government advertising to come fast and furious this summer now that recently released guidelines on federal advertising contracts have got ministerial approval.The Guidelines on Contract-ing for Communications, Public Opinion Research and Advertis-ing were promised as part of...

Expect reviews for federal government advertising to come fast and furious this summer now that recently released guidelines on federal advertising contracts have got ministerial approval.

The Guidelines on Contract-ing for Communications, Public Opinion Research and Advertis-ing were promised as part of the Liberals’ Red Book on policy.

They came about as a result of public outrage over charges of political patronage in the form of millions of dollars given to Tory polling firms during the term of the last Progressive Conservative government.

Chuck Guitte, director of Ottawa’s Advertising Management Group, which processes federal ad contracts, says that as with the old review system, each competition will be publicly advertised and letters of intent requested.

Detailed questionnaires will be sent to interested agencies, and, from those responses, a short-list of six to eight agencies will be created, depending on the size of the account.

However, Guitte says that while, in the past, only the amg created the short-list and there was political influence involved in the decision-making, the new process calls for a committee to review the questionnaires and recommend the short-list.

The committee will be made up of two public servants from the amg, two from the client department and one or two members from the private sector.

Guitte also says to watch for a decline in government advertising expenditures since the Liberal government entered office with that goal.

The Quebec referendum and Canada 125 celebrations, put the 1992 government spend at $113.3 million, well above its annual average of $85 million to $90 million.

That figure dropped in 1993 to $43.9 million, and Guitte expects it to be even lower for 1994.

Because of the seasonality of the assignment, the $5.5 million Tourism Canada account, now with Axmith McIntyre Wicht of Toronto, is first off the mark.

The new policy also states that within a year, advertising will be tendered on the Open Bidding Service.

Guitte says the obs will not make obsolete the way competitions are advertised, but will give the amg the choice of using either method or both for each review.

The Open Bidding Service is a computer on-line service available by subscription from Public Works and Government Services Canada

It gives firms access to government tenders and the ability to request documents with its Bid Request Line.