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New guidelines allow brands to majority fund health campaigns

UK government departments no longer have to match funding from external partners

Change4life–logoThe Cabinet Office is relaxing its rules on how private sector companies can partner with the Department of Health on joint campaigns.

The new guidelines, Planning and Delivering Effective Communications Partnership Strategies, allow sponsors to take a majority stake in activities, removing the previous requirement for government departments to match private sponsorship cash.The changes, which came into affect on May 9, also remove the need for departments to offer a brand's competitors the chance to 'pitch' for their involvement and allows departments to work exclusively with one sponsor.

Alex Aiken, executive director of government communications, said: “Partnerships with organisations in the private and charity sector have produced some of the most creative and powerful government campaigns, and we will do all we can to encourage these collaborations. The opportunity for partners is clear – helping government answer interesting and large-scale communication challenges, and in turn, government can access audiences in new ways.”

Prior to these changes, government ventures such as Change4Life's Be Food Smart campaign (launched in January this year and created by M&C Saatchi) have been generally viewed as successful collaborations. Featuring animated characters that discover the high levels of sugar and fat in cola and pizza, Asda, Quorn, Cravendale, Uncle Ben's, the Co-Operative Food part-funded the campaign as advertisers.

In another partnership activity, Coca- Cola has had a five-year collaboration on the THINK! Drink Drive campaign, which targeted drivers over the festive season to “buy-one-get-one-free” on Coca-Cola in participating pubs and bars. The brand's involvement was said to provide drivers with an incentive to make the right decision and avoid drink driving.

While the government says that it is keen to form stronger external partnerships (and thereby reduce the financial burden on its own departments), controversy may surround what could be seen as inappropriate brand collaborations even though cautionary steps are in place in the document.

14th May 2013

From: Marketing

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