Shared values help keep collective excellence alive
A view from Claire Beale

Shared values help keep collective excellence alive

There are a few things we need to talk about this week. Thing one: Peter Mead.

Whether or not you decide to read his new book, When In Doubt Be Nice, it’s an important publication.

It’s not (just) that this is the memoirs of one of the architects of modern British advertising, though if that’s all you’re looking for, you’ll find riches here. It’s also a book of advice for people shaping their own approach to business. So it’s useful.

Shared chemistry and belief is something you can smell in the air of a good agency. Mead still gets that

But the most important thing about the book is that it captures something that feels too rare: a passion for collecting an amazing group of people and creating a set of shared values that can define a company culture through decades of change. Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO’s chief executive, Ian Pearman, told staff this week that the founding principles Mead laid down with his partners back in 1977 are "what makes us, us" and "to some degree they are what makes you, you".

How great to work in a company where that’s true. Clients, generally, don’t give a damn what their agency’s "founding principles" are, but shared chemistry and belief is something you can smell in the air of a good agency (and something you absolutely notice when it’s absent). Mead still gets that.

Thing two. Saatchi & Saatchi is returning its global headquarters to London. That feels right. Saatchis was born in London, its DNA was created here and its success as an international network shouldn’t need to ignore that. Bringing the HQ back home is a small, functional but emotionally relevant step.

Saatchis needs to feel confident, it needs to believe it can be the best, that nothing is impossible. That’s why Robert Senior is perfectly cast in the global role, and that’s why a clear respect for the past will help drive the network’s future.

Thing three. I wonder what Senior makes of Mondelez’s new ad for Chips Ahoy!. I had to vent on it this week. Hell, this is a bad ad. Worse than bad. Criminal. It wouldn’t be quite so bad if it didn’t take a great ad – Cadbury Daily Milk’s "gorilla", created by Fallon when Senior was in charge – then bludgeon it. How creatively redundant Mondelez marketers have become. The ad was "initiated by PHD and produced by Drum", both excellent agencies with creativity in their bones. But if a cynic were to look for evidence that media agencies can’t really do content, here it is – which is a shame.

Thing four: America. Campaign has just launched there, on campaignlive.com. We want to be all about the people doing great work over there. Lots of them will be writing for us. Please take a look.

claire.beale@haymarket.com    @clairebeale

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