AMV stands by Belford and Roberts

LONDON - Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO is standing by its decision to hire Paul Belford and Nigel Roberts, the disgraced Ogilvy & Mather creative directors.

The team was stripped of the Campaign silver Press Award when it emerged that their entries for The Observer, COI Communications and The Samaritans were, in fact, doctored versions of the ads that actually ran.

AMV reached its decision following two weeks of deliberation. Its strong ties with COI were an important factor in deliberating over whether the pair should join or not.

Peter Buchanan, the COI deputy chief executive, said: "It's a business decision for AMV. However, I wouldn't expect [Belford and Roberts] to work on COI business in the immediate future."

Cilla Snowball, the agency's chief executive, said: "There are no immediate plans for them to work on COI. If at a point in time we want them to work on COI, I would want Peter's permission."

An all-staff memo explained the management's reasons for proceeding with the hiring, comparing the team's vilification with that suffered by David Beckham following his sending off in the 1998 World Cup. It said: "People make mistakes, sometimes really bad ones. But they learn from them, grow as a result of them."

Referring to Belford and Roberts, it said: "Before they were famous cheats, they were famous for being the best press team in the country.

"They are sincerely and deeply sorry about the former, and desperate to get back to being the latter. We think that AMV BBDO is the best place for them to try."

It ends by inviting staff to the boardroom to view their work and ask any questions.

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