ADD2299 London Is Open – PR agency

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
29 November 2018
Decision by: 
Emma Strain, Assistant Director, External Relations and Monitoring Officer

Executive summary

The GLA wishes to amplify the reach and raise awareness of the relaunch of London Is Open campaign. The objectives of this campaign are for the Mayor to be seen as standing up for Londoners and representing their interests through the Brexit debate; and for EU Londoners to feel valued and that they belong in London.


That the Assistant Director of External Relations approves:

1. Expenditure of £30,000 with Freud Communications Limited to provide public relations support for the London is Open Campaign; and

2. An associated exemption from the GLA’s Contract and Funding Code.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The ‘London Is Open’ Campaign launched in 2016 following the result of the Brexit referendum, to reassure Londoners that despite the result, London would remain open, diverse and vibrant. The GLA launched the campaign using the hashtag #LondonIsOpen on the Mayor of London and London Gov social media channels to drive these key messages. The campaign and hashtag were picked up and used extensively by London’s tech industry following London Tech Week. They were also engaged with and utilised by influential individuals/organisations in a variety of industries, including culture, sport, fashion, news outlets and publications, whom all demonstrated their support by sharing these messages on their own channels. This included Richard Branson, J.K. Rowling, Tom Daley, Rita Ora, BBC News, MTV UK, the National History Museum and many more. This activity helped reach millions of people with the important message that London’s diverse cultures and communities are to be celebrated. This also helped to promote the campaign values of openness and inclusiveness.

This initial work was supported by PR Agency Freuds, who at the time gave significantly discounted rates and one month’s fees pro bono. During this period, they helped drive the initial campaign development and supported campaign delivery and amplification by engaging multiple stakeholders and influencers to support the campaign. These influencers were individuals who have significant reach on their personal channels and held aligned values to those promoted by the London Is Open campaign. Freuds also created a wealth of content including videos, photos and news stories that helped drive a successful campaign.

In the run up to the Brexit date in March 2019, the London is Open campaign has been revived, to ensure we continue to promote the campaigns core values to reassure both pan London audiences, as well as vulnerable European Londoners.

This activity is covered by the Central Marketing Budget which has a budget provision of £1m under the Mayoral Decision form MD2275.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The campaign will celebrate London’s continued openness, strength and diversity through Brexit, and reassure Londoners that the values of this city will not change once the UK leaves the EU.

We need to engage recognisable Londoners for the launch phase of this campaign. We plan to include them in our campaign collateral while also encouraging organic content from them. The GLA aims to work again with Freud to sourcing these influencers, providing us with added PR value by engaging the right people to give the campaign more traction. This will also help to reassure that London Is Open, to the 70% of Londoners who say they are concerned about the impact of skilled workers leaving the capital after Brexit. The GLA will not pay influencers any fees to do this. Influencers will not be paid by Freuds and will be taking part in this as it is an important cause. The GLA will carry out due diligence on influencers to ensure their suitability and have final sign off.

Freud will aim to:

• Engage a minimum of 27 influencers with a minimum of 500k followers to lend their support to the campaign. This support could be in the form of tweets supporting the campaign to amplify reach and ensure that we engage with the appropriate audiences;

• Lead on the delivery of the photo call activation, these will be key photo moments with influencers at key launch moments of the campaign. Freuds will drive the earned media to reach multiple audiences with key campaign messages, this will open channels to a diverse range of people and engage audiences which we may not be able to reach. Currently, there are 70% of Londoners who say that they are concerned about the impact of skilled workers leaving the capital after Brexit, this audience needs to be reached; and

• Engage a minimum of 5 relevant influencer feature in the video and a minimum of 20 influencers or partners to share the campaign video.

Equality comments

Under s149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority the Mayor must have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010, and to advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic (race, disability, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion) and foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

The construction of all GLA marketing and communications activity is to take into consideration the audience for which the activity is aimed at. In every case, materials are assessed to ensure they are fully accessible and in line with the public-sector equality duty.

Other considerations

Key risks and issues: As detailed in this decision, officers are requesting an exemption from the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code to enable the GLA to enter into a new contract with Freud, without undertaking a competitive tender exercise to enable Freud to undertake the activities listed in paragraph 2.3.

Officers request that the exemption set out in paragraph 10.1 of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding which relates to ‘previous involvement in a specific current project or continuation of existing work which cannot be separated from the new project/work’ for the following reasons;

• Freud holds the existing relationships to influencers from the 2016 launch of the London Is Open campaign which they worked on for the GLA. During this period, they helped to develop and drive the initial campaign development and supported by engaging multiple stakeholders and influencers to support the campaign. Freuds made a significant contribution to the campaign, enlisting the help of high-profile influencers to help let the world know London Is Open and amplifying the campaign by reaching millions.

• Procuring a new service provider to deliver this work at this stage would slow momentum and take considerable time to bring the new team on board. Given the external environment and timeline in line with Brexit negotiations, this would pose a significant risk to the success of the campaign in achieving its objectives.

• Re-establishing the support of this influencer network is critical to the success of this phase of the campaign.

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities: London Is Open links directly to the economy section of the current ‘London Plan’ and reinforces what the mayor has pledged, ‘to be London’s most pro-business Mayor ever’.

Impact assessment and consultation: Internally tracking and reporting on campaign activity. Bi-weekly meetings have been set up with key stakeholders and decision makers who are involved in the process.

Financial comments

The cost of up to £30,000 for this proposal will be funded from the Central Marketing budget for 2018-19 as approved by MD2275.

Activity table



Delivery Start Date [for project proposals]


Freud to:

engage a minimum of 27 influencers

Lead photo call activation and drive earned media

Engagement of at least 5 influencers to be part of a video and a minimum of 20 to share the video


November 2018

December 2018

March 2019

Final evaluation start and finish (self/external) [delete as applicable]:

May 2019

Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

March 2019

Project Closure: [for project proposals]

April 2019

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