MEC chief calls on government to recruit ‘future-focused’ agency

MEC chief calls on government to recruit ‘future-focused’ agency
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The MD of GroupM agency MEC believes the federal government requires agencies with their finger on the pulse of public sentiment and popular culture when it goes to market with its master media account next year.

Peter Vogel (pictured) has made the call after the government announced late last week that it's released a consultation paper to discuss the possibility of merging its campaign and non-campaign media buying.

UM currently holds the campaign buying account while Adcorp is the incumbent of the non-campaign. Neilsen has reported the federal government spent in excess of $135 million on media in the 12 months to June this year.

The federal government said it’s developed a strategy to replace these arrangements when they expire mid next year, and that it's keen for the public's view on the strategy.

"I think it's great that the federal government is looking for new solutions on how to engage with the public," Vogel told B&T.

"Governments need agencies that are agile and in-touch, but have scale and leverage to underpin their approach," he said.

The consultation document states that joining the two accounts would simplify the arrangement and increase efficiencies for the Master Media Agency (MMA) and the Australian Government, with the former undertaking media rates negotiation, planning placement, post-campaign analysis and reporting.

Vogel said all marketers have to support their paid for media, with an integrated approach to their owned and earned presence.

This is even more important for Governments, he said, "they cannot just blast the public with their paid for messages of what they are doing".

"They have to set up platforms and forums, and really engage the public in conversations. More so for them, they need to move from ‘interruption’ style communication to ‘engagement’ marketing. This is the best way to stay in touch with the general public and get them involved and supporting Government initiatives."

Based on this, Vogel said the government needs a more “future-focused” agency, with strong strategic skills and with its “finger on the pulse of public sentiment and popular culture”, adding that it’s not just about booking media.

He said the government requires an agency withstrong expertise in social and search (paid and organic), and one that can set a longer term strategic direction, but is also able to ‘course correct’ in real-time, based on live data and public sentiment.

“Governments need agencies that are agile and in-touch, but have scale and leverage to underpin their approach, looking for smarter ways and the muscle to make things happen. The way we like to explain this is having a combination of ‘start-up thinking and scaled-up advantage'.  

“So, if this the approach the federal government is investigating, I certainly applaud them and welcome it. If not, they need to re-consider their approach again,” he said.    

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