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BBC to slash £100m marketing spend

LONDON - The BBC is to slash its its annual £100m marketing budget in a move that could result in the axing of high-profile corporate ad campaigns.

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The BBC confirmed that it had "already reduced spend on marketing, communications and advertising", adding, "we do intend to go significantly further still in cutting costs"; but it would not confirm by how much.

Reports have suggested that the cut could be as high as 25%, which could put an end to its high profile campaigns such as 'This is what we do' created by Fallon and and the award-winning 'Perfect Day', created by Leagas Delaney.

The broadcaster is understood to have cut its marketing and communications budget for the current financial year (which started at the beginning of this month) by 20%, or £20m; but those cuts will increase to £25m at the start of the next licence fee period.

BBC executives are clearly nervous about spending too much -- and being perceived as spending too much -- on advertising in the current economic climate, with the corporation even putting an ad's transmission on hold because of fears it looked too expensive.

Earlier this month, Campaign reported that the BBC had not decided whether to run an ad promoting its Radio 1 DJs because the campaign looked too expensive; while other agencies on the BBC's roster had been told to create ads that look good, "but not too good".

In response to this latest news, the BBC issued the following statement: "No organisation is immune from the financial crisis so we are scrutinising all of our spending.

"Whilst it's important we do communicate and explain the services we offer, we have already reduced spend on MC&A and we do intend to go significantly further still in cutting costs."

The marketing cuts follow on the heels of an announcement by BBC director general Mark Thompson that the corporation needs to save £400m over the next three years.

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