In My Opinion: Mark Gorman: Ominous signs from the Scottish Government marketing framework

IF reports are true, then some of the best-known names in Scottish marketing – such as advertising creatives, The Leith Agency – have missed out on a slice of a £100 million ‘marketing framework’ for the Scottish Government and its agencies.

Says The Drum media and marketing magazine, some who have missed out are seeking legal advice, and so they should.

My concern is two-fold.

First, for the welfare of the agencies who have allegedly missed out and the talented people who work for them, and, second, for the role of creativity in a procurement process which, from where I am standing, looks more about price than product.

We won’t know for sure who exactly the winners and losers are until Monday, when a ‘ten-day standstill’ comes to an end, or to quote a Scottish Government spokesperson: “Bidders have now been notified of the outcome of the tender exercise for marketing services; however, the Public Procurement Regulations require us to observe a ten-day standstill. This ends on March 25 after which time we will conclude the framework agreements. As a result it is not possible to comment further at this stage.”

The framework includes the likes of advertising and integrated communications.

And the irony is that the shortlist for the Scottish Creative Awards were last year awash with names from organisations who appear to have missed out.

My view is that this is another sad day for the creative industries in Scotland. As chair of Creative Edinburgh, my role is to champion creativity in our capital and anything that puts price before creativity is going to erode our status as innovators and enlightened thinkers.

Sure, the public purse has to expect value but believe me, after 25 years in this industry, the most expensive team in town is cheap at half the price. The Scottish Government achieved excellent value for money long, long ago, but enough is enough.

Mark Gorman is an independent marketing consultant operating under the banner, ‘Think Hard’. He has over 25 years of experience in advertising, design, direct marketing, PR, professional writing (especially blogging), business mentoring, digital marketing and research. He was co-founder of the former advertising agency, 1576.