Millennium row as Saatchi wins pounds 16m contract
Saturday 23 August 1997
The controversy surrounding the millennium celebrations intensified yesterday when the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC), the group organising the festivities, awarded a pounds 16m advertising account for the project to M&C Saatchi, one of whose partners has been advising the NMEC since February.
Bill Muirhead, a partner at M&C Saatchi, has been giving "strategic advice" to the NMEC, the public body set up to run the Greenwich-based millennium celebrations. Rival advertising agencies, four of which competed with M&C Saatchi for the prestigious account, have said the outcome of the bidding was a foregone conclusion.
While in opposition, Labour said it was investigating Mr Muirhead's role at NMEC. He was a key adviser to the Conservative Party during the 1992 general election, and was not interviewed for his advisory role at the NMEC.
However, a spokesman for Peter Mandelson, the minister without portfolio who is responsible for the millennium project, seemed satisfied yesterday with the appointment of M&C Saatchi: "We have nothing to add to the NMEC's announcement," he said.
A spokesman for the NMEC defended the decision: "We needed strategic advice on marketing and Bill very kindly helped us out with that. Over the last six months he has played less and less of a role."
Mr Muirhead had not been paid for his work since February, the spokesman added. "He was advising at board level, but had no formal contract or title." Mr Muirhead could not be contacted for comment.
Other agencies who pitched for the business included Abbott Mead Vickers and TBWA/Simons Palmer.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...