THE BOOK OF LISTS: Wight's all-staffer turns the air blue

By CAMPAIGN STAFF, campaignlive.co.uk, Tuesday, 17 December 2002 12:00AM

The first Memo Of The Year ceremony began in confusion when very few of the chosen guests could find their way to the venue - the Stationers Hall, in London, revered the world over as the place where Robin Wight penned his famous two-word all-staffer on hearing that Mother had won the Orange account.

Wight was unfortunately unable to attend the ceremony in person, but a video was sent to the organisers, showing him welcoming his former Orange clients into the WCRS Christmas party with a cheery one-finger salute and chuckling at the thought of them all dying a hideous death due to excessive mobile phone use.

Greeting the guests as master of ceremonies was Mike Walsh, the chairman of Ogilvy Europe, accompanied by his long-serving ghostwriter who said it was a great privilege to accept lifetime membership of the most vitriolic all-staff memo hall of fame for his oeuvre in March this year marking the abrupt exit of Paul Simons as the chief executive of the Ogilvy group in the UK.

Walsh began by asking guests to join him in a toast to the memo writers of J. Walter Thompson who, alone among industry pedants, had managed to achieve two entries in Campaign's best internal memos of 2002 list. Walsh drew particular attention to the all-staffer that went round JWT's Knightsbridge Green office in June 2002: "Due to popular demand, we have re-ordered the JWT navy drawstring bags. These are available for you to use but please only use them where necessary, eg. for important meetings and inductions."

The handful of guests fell silent and lit candles as a mark of respect as Walsh read out the memo which won the Grand Bore of the Year category, not only for its content but also for its timing, coming as it did as the world prepared for potential nuclear war in the Middle East.

Finally, guests were entertained to a nonsense memo reading from Kevin Roberts, the worldwide chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi, revered the world over as a distinguished man of letters. By the time he had reached the line "Focus on the three heat centres of Lovemarks - mystery, sensuality and intimacy", so many guests had expressed their appreciation by falling asleep that they had to be woken by members of the Publicis board who were busy at the back of the hall counting their share options.

Best internal memos, p49.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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