Queensland government opens media tender, seeking ‘value for money’

The Queensland government is looking to consolidate its media strategy, planning and buying arrangements and is seeking one agency to take care of its campaign and non-campaign activity.

It has kicked off a tender process for interested agencies, which closes on 22 June.

The Queensland government wants value for money from its media agency

The tender comes after a period of movement in state and federal government media accounts, with Mediacom winning the $75m Victorian government media account in September, after the tender kicked off in April last year.

Also in September, the NSW government appointed a raft of groups – including WPP AU/NZ, OMD, UM, Havas Media and Atomic 212 – as it restructured how it uses agencies to plan and buy media.

The new agency conglomerate replaced incumbent UM who had won the account from Mediacom in 2013.

In November, the Australian government kicked off the tender process for its $175m account, which was, at the time, held by Dentsu Mitchell (now Dentsu X).

The process was ultimately won by UM, which had also looked after the account for 11 years prior to it moving to Dentsu Mitchell.

Mediacom is the incumbent on the Queensland account, having held it for a decade.

The tender said the state government is looking for “quality and cost-effective placement”.

“The Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC) is the lead agency for the management of master media advertising services for the Queensland Government. There are currently separate arrangements for campaign and non-campaign advertising.  The objective of the Invitation to Offer (ITO) is to establish a singular Standing Offer Arrangement (SOA) for the provision of both campaign and non-campaign master media advertising placement services.

“DPC is seeking a suitably experienced media agency to provide quality and cost-effective placement, planning and media strategy services to customers accessing the arrangement,” the tender overview said.

The DPC reports on advertising placements for 21 departments, but includes costs for advertising placements only.

The department explained in its 2016/2017 advertising report:

DPC publicly reports annually on expenditure on advertising placement by the21 departments, despite no formal requirement to do so. This is consistent with some other Australian jurisdictions. By including advertising placement only, DPC reports around 55percent of departments ’total expenditure on campaign advertising. It does not include, for example, the departments’ engagement of agencies for the development, monitoring and evaluation of campaign advertising.

DPC does not have rigorous quality assurance practices over the information it reports publicly on expenditure for advertising placement. It does not obtain adequate assurance over the amounts spent on advertising placement before reporting these amounts on its website and on the government’s Open Data portal (which provides online access to government data).

In addition, DPC only reports on those Queensland public sector entities covered by the Code. These account for less than half of the Queensland public sector’s expenditure on advertising placement. Other jurisdictions include the expenditure of statutory bodies, government owned corporations, and other public sector entities in their advertising reports.

In the 2015/2016 financial year, Queensland government departments reportedly spent $29.04m on media placements – $25.6m of which was in the campaign category.

The largest department campaign spends came from health ($8.19m), transport and main roads ($4.88m), fire and emergency services ($3.9m) and treasury ($2.49m).

In the non-campaign segment, the biggest spenders were transport and main roads ($846,134),  education and training ($425,537) and health ($317,454).

The three most-expensive campaigns by media placement costs were ‘If it’s flooded, forget it’ ($3.5m for fire and emergency services), childhood immunisation ($1.86m for the department of health) and drink driving ($1.24m for the department of transport and main roads).

In its most recent government advertising report, the Queensland government said it expects value for money from its media agency, but this is difficult to measure and ensure.

“DPC [Department of Premier and Cabinet], as manager of the standing offer arrangements for buying advertising placements for campaigns, aims to ensure value for money for all Queensland public sector entities. It assesses the cost of campaigns by assessing performance of the master media buying agency and can demonstrate that the rates the Queensland public sector entities are obtaining from negotiation on their behalf are better than market rates,” the report said.

“But none of the stages in the approval process for government advertising enable the committee to assess whether the department has achieved value for money. That is, that the department is satisfied with the quality and the results they have achieved for the public funds invested.”


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