Dibbs wins public affairs contract at first attempt

The public affairs practice of Dibb Lupton Alsop has won a big client in its first ever pitch – advising the trade body for British advertisers.

The department, dubbed DLA Upstream, is headed by Liberal Democrat Lord Tim Clement-Jones and acts for clients in a political fact-finding and lobbying capacity.

The account to advise the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) – the body representing the interests of advertisers in the UK – has been won from public relations firm The Communications Group.

Dibbs also fought off competition from another lobbying group GPC Connect.

DLA Upstream operates out of the Brussels office, and while the ISBA work is for UK public affairs advice there is a European dimension. The firm will examine issues like the threat posed to advertisers by the Swedish presidency of the EU – Sweden has plans to ban advertising to children across Europe.

ISBA director of public affairs Ian Twinn says: “DLA Upstream's new approach and its legal and public affairs mix made it the outstanding contender.

“As the representative body of a sector faced with a number of issues, ISBA needed the support of a consultancy that can offer real sector knowledge combined with the prerequisite Brussels and Westminster expertise.”

DLA Upstream's UK account director Kevin Craig says: “We beat off two of the established lobbying firms in this country and that's never been done before. Other law firms have had half-hearted attempts at doing public affairs but this is the first time a law firm has done it on this scale.”

Craig says 75 per cent of the work will be done in the UK, with the remainder handled out of Brussels.

He says: “We have picked up other work from referrals and existing clients, but this is the first competitive pitch we have done and we have won it.

“The Swedish plans are a big threat to this industry and we will be tracking political developments and advising ISBA on how best to react to those and other current issues.”