Annual: Top 10 Diary Stories

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 12 December 2008 12:00AM

1. A sorry tale of bareback riding and broken Johnny

Johnny Hornby was clearly chomping at the bit to provide the hacks at Campaign with yet more Diary fodder after getting himself into another scrape last week.

The CHI & Partners chief was entertaining guests at his home when, to their horror, the bar ran dry. Not one to let himself, or visitors, go thirsty, Hornby opted to pop to the shops to stock up.

However, on exiting his country pile, the colourful Hornby spotted his horse in the paddock and decided to indulge in some impromptu equestrianism before his trip to the off-licence.

Unfortunately for Hornby, before he could even reach a canter, the horse threw Hornby to the ground.

After 20 minutes of waiting, his guests were beginning to wonder where their host and, more importantly, their drinks could have got to, and after a quick search of the grounds, discovered a rather battered and bruised Hornby lying in the field.

2. How to make an impact during work experience

When Sir Martin Sorrell purchased a stake in CHI & Partners last year, it seemed clear that the founding partners had become self-made millionaires overnight. Then adland found out not just what the partners, but all CHI's employees as well, are taking home each month.

A mystery hacker gained access to the archive of employee contracts and in an apparent bid to fight the cause of the little people, sent the information to CHI's entire workforce from a work experience e-mail address.

However, senior forces at CHI were quick to pounce, shutting down the agency's server and deleting all traces of the e-mail. But the hacker wasn't going to be foiled and a second attempt to send the information from the computer of an account executive was successful.

However, Johnny Hornby joked: "The e-mail must have been created as an April fool - everyone at CHI knows we all earn double those salaries."

3. Who gets a rocket after Maxim slump? Erm, us

After Campaign revealed Maxim's abysmal April sales figures, Diary wasn't exactly expecting its editor, Michael Donlevy, to bike round a dozen roses. But Diary feels his subsequent rant in an e-mail to staff, in which he called trade journalists "wankers", was a tad uncalled for.

In the rant, in which it can be noted he doesn't manage to deny the story, there are quite a few Donlevy gems, such as: "Trade journalists are wankers. They don't like Dennis - never have, never will. So they will give us a kicking instead of reporting that Esquire sold 15,000 or Arena sold four fucking copies."

At the end of the missive, Donlevy tries to give his staff a bit of a morale boost: "Finally, for the first time since I started, I feel as if we are close to having a team in place to do really great things with Maxim."

Sadly for Donlevy, he left the editor's job six months later.

4. Churchill dog's expletive appears somewhat apt

We're not the only ones tiring of the Churchill dog's "Oh, yes" catchphrase. The nodding mutt himself appears to have become so bored of trotting out the same old line, he's tacked the word "fuck" on to the end of it.

A Churchill ad, created by WCRS, caused a stir in July with viewers who claimed the bulldog uttered the expletive after his catchphrase as he and some human friends head-banged in a car to the Whitesnake classic Here I Go Again.

5. Industry's cold-blooded initiation ritual revealed

Try, for a moment, to put yourself in the shoes of a young graduate at M&C Saatchi.

Now imagine being summoned by Graham Fink, the M&C creative director, to the office at 10.30pm and ordered to wait for an hour in the deserted lobby. You are then instructed that a car will take you to Fink. Then, once you are dropped at the Millennium Bridge, you are told to cross to the other side.

You'd be starting to think that the night couldn't get much weirder, right? You'd be very wrong.

At the other side of the bridge is a man dressed all in black, complete with a black facemask (you've guessed it, it's Fink), who hands you a boa constrictor, tells you to take it back to the car and then promptly does a runner, leaving you holding the deadly serpent.

6. Ducking out early means missing out on the prize

Without wanting to detract from the enormous contribution ISBA makes to the industry, Diary feels that it would be letting itself down if this particular story was ignored.

It's pretty well known throughout the advertising arena that as the annual ISBA conference stretches into the afternoon session, attention-deficient adlanders begin to get itchy feet and plot an early escape.

However, this year, ISBA attempted to snare those pesky attendees who try to make a hasty exit by offering a business-card prize draw at the end of the day.

At stake was a six-seat box for the hit musical We Will Rock You. But ISBA had one stipulation: the winner had to be present in the room if they were to collect their prize.

First out of the hat was Stephen Woodford, the chief executive of DDB. Known for his love of musicals (he cried during Mary Poppins), it was a very apposite prize. Sadly, he'd already cleared off.

Never mind. A hand was deftly thrust into the jar again for a new business card, but, again, the winner was skiving. Third time lucky, ISBA was hoping, but it wasn't meant to be. Again, no winner present. The fourth draw, however, ended the embarrassment. Phew!

7. They're really feeling the pinch on Downing Street

Oh, how they love a laugh in Downing Street. No matter that the banking system is in meltdown and the economy is going down the toilet, there's clearly a prankster afoot at chez Brown.

However, Diary feels the joke has gone too far. So whoever nicked Stephen Carter's luxury executive chair, will they please give it back?

Carter, the one-time JWT boss turned prime ministerial strategist, had intended taking it with him to the Lords, where the newly ennobled Carter is now the minister for communications, technology and broadcasting.

Now, he's been forced to circulate an e-mail asking if anybody has seen his prized possession.

8. Industry's original Mad Men fondly remembered

What a drab place adland would have been had it not been lit up by the colourful characters found in Campaign's 40th birthday Hall of Fame, published this autumn.

Diary's favourite anecdote concerns the hell-raising creative Alan Waldie. After one heavy night at a hotel, the manager had to steer a well-refreshed Waldie to his room. Waldie walked across the room and fell over the balcony, arriving back at the bar just as the manager was returning.

9. Why Saatchi deserves a standing ovation in pitches

If you ran an agency and your payroll included one of the most famous names in advertising, it would just be bad business sense not to have that person involved in big pitches.

With this in mind, you can't really blame M&C Saatchi for regularly playing its trump card and calling on its founder, the one and only Maurice Saatchi, to add some glamour and gravitas to the agency's pitch meetings.

However, there is just one problem. Saatchi is not exactly "hands on" anymore and doesn't always recognise the young whippersnappers he is pitching alongside.

So, we hear, the clever lot over at Golden Square decided that some form of time-coded aide-memoire would be the best way to ensure their commander-in-chief didn't enter a pitch, all glasses and charm, and start shaking hands with his own staff.

When his lordship bursts into the room, the M&C executives who are not already on their feet must be upstanding. By doing so, Saatchi is free to shake the hands of the clients - those still sitting down - without making himself look a bit of an idiot.

10. Want to know what turns Wight into a horny goat?

It appears there's still life in the old dog. Diary has discovered how Robin Wight has managed to keep his relentless energy for so long.

The Engine president and WCRS founder was spotted leaving a Holland & Barrett store with two purchases -a remedy for snoring, and something called Horny Goat Weed, a very potent aphrodisiac.

According to one source, after testing out the merchandise, Wight told Holland & Barrett, a WCRS client, that he was much impressed.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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