NEWSMAKER/LEON JAUME: The laid-back Lothario to settle down with O&M - O&M’s Leon Jaume will not leave until the job is done, as Jane Austin discovered

By JANE AUSTIN,, Friday, 12 September 1997 12:00AM

I can easily imagine the scene if Leon Jaume were to meet my mother as my new boyfriend. There would be the rolling of the eyes as the new deputy creative director of Ogilvy & Mather dismounted his Ducatti. There would be mutterings of ’haven’t you grown out of this yet?’ as he shook his long hair from his helmet.

I can easily imagine the scene if Leon Jaume were to meet my mother

as my new boyfriend. There would be the rolling of the eyes as the new

deputy creative director of Ogilvy & Mather dismounted his Ducatti.

There would be mutterings of ’haven’t you grown out of this yet?’ as he

shook his long hair from his helmet.

She, determined not to approve of him, would thrust a plate of devilled

eggs and vol-au-vents at him, and wait for him to put his foot in it

(metaphorically speaking, of course). And he would begin to listen and

charm. Within half an hour, she would undoubtedly and very noticeably

drag me into the kitchen and hiss, ’Marry him.’

I’m not using this to suggest my mother is a dragon, quite the opposite

in fact, but charm is the word most often used by friends and colleagues

to describe the 42-year-old copywriter. He is intelligent, witty, looks

27, is politically correct, loves opera, is a good listener and loves to

talk - albeit about anything but himself. Which makes things a bit hairy

for the journalist who has to write 1,300 words about him.

Take the first phone call to tell him Campaign wants to profile him.

’Why on earth do you want to do that?’ he laughs.

’Because you’re off the Bates Dorland list, you’ve been promoted and we

haven’t done you before,’ I reply.

’All right,’ he says, ’I’ll meet you in the Ivy at lunch.’

After three hours at his favourite lunch venue, I’ve written three lines

which proclaim: ’Jaume was born in London, has a French dad,

consequently he is a bit miffed that he can’t speak French, and has

three brothers.

He once did a bookies course at the London College of Printing so that

he could have a better understanding of racing form.’

He, on the other hand, knows when I lost my virginity, my political

beliefs, all about my relationship and work history. If I’d had another

glass of champagne I probably would have given him my post office

savings book and my PIN number. ’I’m sorry,’ he says as we leave the

restaurant and the waitresses wave and utter ’bye Leon!’ in unison.

’I’ll think of something to say by tomorrow.’

Fortunately, his friends and colleagues are more forthcoming with Leon

stories. ’He’s a babe magnet,’ says one.

’I would describe him as the David Gower of advertising,’ says Andrew

Robertson, managing director of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. ’Work wise,

he’s capable of doing really exciting things. But he’s also capable of

standing in the middle of the ground and just watching a plane go


’He has more restaurant presence than Charles and Maurice Saatchi,’ says

Rooney Carruthers, joint creative director at WCRS.

’To call Leon laid-back would be a euphemism,’ adds Roger Mavity, his

former partner at the now-defunct Mavity Gilmore Jaume.

Jaume’s capacity to drink copious amounts of alcohol but reveal no signs

of inebriation is legendary. His ability to say things like ’Bernard

Levin once said that Beethoven is brilliant, but Mozart is a conduit

from heaven’ after several drinks has to be respected.

He has the demeanour of someone who hasn’t a care in the world and just

potters about happily. Is this a cover for a secret workaholic? Well,

no. ’He’s certainly not a workaholic,’ says Robertson, who worked with

him at WCRS. ’He has always made room in his life for a bit of play. But

I think he has got more and more bound into his work at O&M.’

’He’s a great creative director,’ says Carruthers, a friend of Jaume’s

for the past 18 years. ’He’s very considerate. He’s kind, meticulous and

has a lot of patience which makes him excel as a group leader. And I’ve

never seen him lose his temper. His personality and his work are


He is the Dorian Gray of advertising and women are his hobby. But girls,

apparently he’s dreadful in bed - only joking.’

Not only does Jaume have come-to-bed eyes, apparently he exudes an

excellent bedside manner, which comes in handy with clients. ’Apart from

being excellent at listening and asking penetrating questions, Leon has

a charm that makes people, clients especially, trust, like and believe

in him,’ Robertson says.

Jaume began his career with a copywriting course at Watford. Next, he

worked at Collett Dickenson Pearce on placement. He went on to Fletcher

Sheldon Delaney with Fergus Fleming as his art director. After being

made redundant, he moved to Cogent Elliot and then to BMP. At BMP, he

’learned things’ and with these things he moved to FCO with Graeme

Norways as his new partner.

The pair then moved to WCRS, and after Norways left, Mike Shafron joined

as Jaume’s partner. They produced the lauded BMW press work, including

the ’cabriolet’, ’quarter of the time’, ’toolkit’ and ’blurred car’

executions, which set the standard for the marque’s advertising. Norways

then left and Jaume moved, in 1982, to new start up Mavity Gilmore.

Within two years he was creative director and had his name over the


’At the time a lot of people wondered why I wanted to leave WCRS and

abandon the traditional career progression to go to a new start-up. Lots

of people thought that the last thing we needed was yet another

third-wave agency,’ Jaume says. ’But I really enjoyed it. The best-known

work we did was for the Mauritius Tourist Board. The agency went through

various mergers and really I should have left after the merger with

Brooks Legon Bloomfield.’

According to Mavity, who was chairman of Mavity Gilmore Jaume and is now

chief executive of Granada Technology Group, Jaume is ’incredibly

intelligent , very astute and personable with an acute creative


’The best work he ever did with the agency was hiring and encouraging

bright young people,’ Mavity continues. ’He needs to be in an

intelligent environment whether it be account men or clients.

He needs that intellectual stimulus to encourage him. And he was the

only person in the agency not to go to Mauritius when we held the


Mike Gilmore, now chairman of Braxas, remembers Jaume as ’a charming and

very genuine man’.

’There isn’t a nasty side to him at all,’ he says. ’Although he did like

his lunches and has the ability to disappear for ages. We had a softball

team and had agency T-shirts printed. On the front of the T-shirt we

printed Mavity Gilmore and on the back printed ’Where’s Leon?’. This was

a reference to Roger’s habit of wandering through the office in the

mid-afternoon trying to track Leon down.’

After leaving Mavity, Jaume returned to WCRS as one of four creative

directors reporting to Alan Tilby and worked on the BMW, Daily

Telegraph, BBC Corporate and Prudential accounts. In November 1995, he

was poached by O&M as creative director on the Ford account. Now, as was

reported in last week’s Campaign, he has been promoted to deputy

creative director.

’Ostensibly, I always have been deputy creative director,’Jaume


’I don’t think it was a case of it being rushed through because I’d had

talks with Dorlands. I wasn’t going to leave, as I didn’t feel that I

had finished my job at O&M. It’s an amazing agency at the moment.

Patrick (Collister, the agency’s executive creative director) is a joy

to work with and, I think, terribly under-rated, possibly because he is

so modest.

But you just have to look at the reel for the past two years to see how

much he has done and how much energy there is in the agency.’

He adds: ’There are plenty of teams at O&M who are better then me and

I’d like to help them prove it. Being a creative director is all about

achieving a balance of what you know and how you oversee others. This

agency is going to surprise a lot of people over the next couple of


Jaume’s friends see a big future for the laid-back Lothario. ’Leon will

get poached to be creative director of somewhere big,’ predicts Ray

Barrett, old friend and creative director of Barrett Cernis Delves and


’But he won’t leave O&M until the job is done.’

This article was first published on


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