HEADLINER: Gentle giant of a media buyer throws his bowler in the ring - Nigel Allmond is not quite the hard man he appears to be, Claire Beale reveals

By NIGEL ALLMOND, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 19 December 1997 12:00AM

Nigel Allmond. Odd Job. Odj: nick-named after Goldfinger’s silently stocky bald bad guy with the knife-edge bowler, though this Odd Job does speak - a whispering growl with a Grimsby twang.

Nigel Allmond. Odd Job. Odj: nick-named after Goldfinger’s silently

stocky bald bad guy with the knife-edge bowler, though this Odd Job does

speak - a whispering growl with a Grimsby twang.



Now Odj is throwing his bowler into the media ring and setting up a

joint venture media shop.



The Allmond Partnership, hereby officially christened TAP for easy

access, is a joint venture between the man himself and Manning Gottlieb

Media.



Allmond blushes at the prominence of his name - sweet in one so

physically daunting, but more of that later. ’I’m not an egomaniac, I’m

really reticent about such things,’ he gruffs. He doesn’t photograph so

well (see above), ’and I don’t want to frighten the children.’



For those to whom Allmond has always been the slightly sinister-looking

foil to the slightly sinister-looking Tony Kenyon at the old IDK agency,

his emergence as media entrepreneur will surprise. Odj’s reputation -

aside from movie star doppelganger - is as a TV buyer, a bloody good TV

airtime negotiator and, more specifically, one of the key figures (some

would argue the key figure) behind BT’s TV buying business.



Thirty-five, bowling ball head, no neck, Allmond’s not a guy you’d want

to meet down a dark alley, nor the sort of slick schmoozer you might

earmark for media agency moguldom. ’I’m not the typical adman type,’ he

admits needlessly. ’For a start, I’m not much of a politician, I tend to

be too open, though I see that as a strength.’



For all his bully-boy looks, Allmond has a soft underbelly and it comes

as no surprise when the conversation gets personal. For instance, after

taking a degree in Japanese and Asian economics, Allmond turned his back

on his fledgling career at Dorlands in the 80s when his dad was made

redundant, heading back to Grimsby to help pops get back on his

feet.



Then, when his father died last year ’it really got me reflecting on

things’. By then Allmond was a director of the Negotiation Centre, born

out of the CIA Group’s acquisition of IDK, but it was a very different

sort of operation from the IDK he’d been happy at for the previous nine

years. ’I didn’t leave IDK, it left me. I asked myself what I enjoyed

doing and found that TNC wasn’t it.’



His shock resignation, not surprisingly, got the industry gossiping

about TNC’s hold on the BT TV buying, which comes up for statutory

review next year. And here Allmond manages to play the politician

beautifully. ’If there was a pitch for the BT television business, and I

was lucky enough to be invited to pitch, then that would be a great

opportunity.’ He has, after all, run the pounds 100 million-plus account

for 13 years and is seen as part of the BT family, facts you can bet MGM

needs no reminding of.



TAP will, ultimately, be owned 51/49 by Allmond and MGM (the rachet deal

gives an initial 75/25 split). It’s MGM’s first real expansion beyond

the MGM brand and an important reflection of the sort of relationship it

has with its new parent company, Omnicom. The TAP deal has been given

the green light by Omnicom in New York, and signals that MGM has secured

the sort of independence it fought for when it sold a majority stake to

Omnicom in August.



For Colin Gottlieb, Allmond was an easy choice of partner. The two have

known each other for years, they make a ’particularly heavyweight team’,

and are a good balance - ’put us on either side of the scales and we’d

balance all right. Nigel is one of the best broadcast people around.’

Gottlieb enthuses: ’You’re calling me broad again,’ Allmond says. All

the makings of a great double act.



In practice, TAP will act as a second-string operation based on bastard

buying but able to tap into the warm and cuddly strategic and creative

credentials of MGM. ’Imagine,’ says Allmond wistfully, ’a fantasy land

where the old IDK had married the old PHD. That’s the sort of company we

want to be.’ High ambitions, and Allmond will require a solid TAP team

to realise them.



Allmond, in danger of being seen as a one-client man, needs a strong

support structure beyond the MGM axis if he is to convince clients that

TAP can take the place of an established media agency. But he’s on the

hunt for staff and is happy to hand over equity to the right people.



And for Allmond himself, the key is that this time he’s in charge. ’When

you work for someone else, you may have a voice but that voice ain’t

very loud,’ he whispers. ’I’m very ambitious, that goes with the

territory.



At least now I won’t be able to say ’if only’.’ And he must be hoping

the Goldfinger connection goes further than a bald geezer with a vicious

bowler.



The Allmond file

1984 Dorlands, graduate trainee TV buyer

1987 Davidson Pearce, TV buyer

1988 IDK, TV buyer then director

1997 The Negotiation Centre, director

1997 TAP, managing director.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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