Media Buying and Planning

Communications and Engagement manage the Media Agency Services (MAS) Contract and the Advertising and Digital Communications Services Prequalification Scheme (the Scheme). Both are whole-of-government arrangements to assist NSW Government departments with cost effective media buying, placement, creative and digital communications services for advertising.

Centralising all NSW Government advertising activity generates significant discounts on normal advertising rates for the benefit of all departments; irrespective of the size of their expenditure. In addition, the MAS Contract provides streamlined, high quality service delivery and account management to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of NSW Government advertising.

The current MAS Contract expires on 30 September 2017, and only media agencies on this Contract are to be used for planning or buying purposes. The Scheme is open till 30 April 2018 and suppliers on this panel are highly recommended for creative and digital communication services. Departments are to liaise directly with all suppliers.

The NSW Government Advertising Handbook outlines the requirements, standards and approvals to be followed in the planning, preparation, management and reporting of advertising activities.

Types of advertisements

NSW Government advertising activities fall into two main categories: Public Awareness advertising and Recruitment and Public Notice advertising.

Public Awareness Advertising is a series of coordinated communications to raise awareness of key issues or encourage behavioural change and participation in or promotion of government services (also known as Campaign advertising).

Recruitment advertising promotes specific job vacancies and employment opportunities. Public Notice advertising contain a clear, simple message or announcement, and are generally one-off or short-term in nature. Typical NSW Government public notices include public transport timetable notices, regulatory notices, grants and awards programs and urgent public health or safety announcements. Recruitment and public notice advertising is also known as non-campaign advertising.

If expenditure on any advertising activities is likely to exceed $50,000, the campaign will require peer review. 

Media agencies under the MAS Contract

Universal McCann

The purchase and placement of all NSW Government public awareness advertising, including health and road safety messages, tourism promotion and other government announcements, must be done through Universal McCann, who negotiate media rates on behalf of all NSW Government departments.


NSW Government departments must book recruitment and public notice advertisements through Zenith using their online advertising booking system, ADCell.

Media Planning agencies

The four agencies that can assist with media planning are:

NSW Government departments should directly engage the agency that best suits their needs when it comes to strategic media planning services for public awareness campaigns. Departments can consult each of the agencies listed to inquire about their ways of working, current workloads and expertise, however, a competitive pitch process is strongly discouraged as these agencies have already undergone a thorough tender process to be appointed to the panel.

Planning your public awareness campaign

In the planning and development of campaigns, NSW Government departments should prepare a brief that outlines the objectives of the campaign, target audience and indicators of campaign success. This is then used as the basis for the planner to develop a media plan.

Where a media planner from the four planning agencies above has been engaged to prepare a media strategy and/or plan, they will provide documented recommendations and a costed media schedule in response to your brief. The brief needs to be detailed and clear to get the best results. At minimum, the brief should cover:

  • background information
  • brand information
  • possible competitive challenges
  • past learnings
  • campaign objectives
  • target audience
  • broader communications strategy
  • campaign logistics and budget

Once advertising approval has been confirmed and the media plan finalised, NSW Government departments can proceed with media bookings. All media buying for NSW Government public awareness campaigns must be made through Universal McCann.

A Media Booking Authority (MBA) form must be completed to give Universal McCann authority to book planned activity. They cannot commence with any booking activity without a signed MBA. Delay in delivering the signed MBA may result in loss of access to media assets. Universal McCann would like a minimum of 13 weeks from brief to publication, broadcast or distribution to guarantee the highest quality of strategy and implementation.

Planning your recruitment or public notice advertisement

For recruitment and public notices, Zenith can provide information to NSW Government departments about the range of media options available, costs, geographical coverage of various newspaper titles, dates of publications, booking deadlines, circulation and readership information.

Departments should place their public notices in the NSW Government Noticeboard where they are trying to target a metropolitan audience. The NSW Government Noticeboard is a composite made up of individual government notices, and is published in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph each Wednesday.

NSW Government tender notices including Requests for Tenders, Requests for Quotes, Requests for Information, Expressions of Interest and all other NSW Government procurement opportunities are advertised on the NSW Government e-Tendering website The use of press or other media is not permitted. For more details on advertising on the e-Tendering website, contact the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation’s Client Support Centre on 1800 679 289 or email

Contacting media agencies on the MAS Contract

Universal McCann (UM)

Each NSW Government department has been allocated a UM account service team. The media agency you have chosen to do your media planning will need to complete the UM Buying Brief and liaise with the UM buying account manager on your account. They will book, manage and report on the proposed activity. A Media Booking Authority Form must be completed by each NSW Government department and sent to UM, authorising them to book the planned activity.


Key contacts:

Sophie Bingham - Group Director

P: 9994 4259 | M: 0421 187 407  | E:

Simon Grace - State Investment Director

P: 9994 4232 | M: 0411 197 950  | E:


Address: 100 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills Sydney 2010


Planning and booking requests for recruitment and public notice advertisements should be sent to Zenith. Vendor details for Zenith are found here.

Key contacts

Leonie Collins - Group Business Director 

P: 8059 1208 | M: 0414 457 360  | E:

Clare Watts  – Account Manager

P: 8059 1248  | E:


Address: Bond Store 3, 30 Windmill Street, Walsh Bay Sydney 2000

Blue 449 (formally Match Media)

To engage Blue 449 to prepare a media strategy/plan, please complete the Client Brief and send it to James Simmons.

Key contacts:

James Simmons - Director
P: 8644 3050 | 0424 563 983 |E:

Ian Czencz - Strategy Director
P: 8644 3007 | 0412 257 193 | E:


Address: Ground Floor, 63 - 73 Ann Street, Surrey Hills NSW 2010

Optimum Media Direction (OMD)

To engage OMD to prepare a media strategy/plan, please complete the Communications Brief and send it to Aimee Buchanan.

Key Contacts:

Aimee Buchanan – CEO, Australia 

P: 9692 2142 | 0422 625 121 | E:

Kim Hamilton – General Manager 

P: 9692 2000 | E:


Address: 32 Pyrmont Bridge Road, Pyrmont Sydney 2009


To engage Mediacom to prepare a media strategy/plan, please complete a Communications Brief and send it to Sean Seamer.

Key contacts:

Sean Seamer – CEO, Australia & New Zealand
P: 9463 7200  | E:


Address: Level 17, 65 Berry Street, North Sydney NSW 2060



For further information please contact