Two years ago Camille Paglia and Julie Burchill engaged in the first
recorded fax war. If only we had the space here to print the
unexpurgated transcript of their Exocets. My favourite was: ‘Dear
Professor Paglia, Fuck off you crazy old dyke. Always, Julie Burchill.’
Is the feud between Steve Henry (esteemed creative partner and co-
founder of Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury) and Paul Weiland (esteemed
director and founder of the Paul Weiland Film Company) heading
inexorably in the same direction?
It started when Henry wrote about creatives directing commercials in
Campaign (28 June). The key, he said, in a reference to the Mercury
‘Oliver and Claire’ spots which he co-directed, is ‘gathering the right
team’. Weiland fired off a letter advising Henry to compete with
everyone else and stop hiding behind his agency position (Campaign, 12
July). To which Henry, writing in this issue’s letters page and
referring to Weiland’s film, City Slickers II, responded by suggesting
that Weiland try his hand at features (again).
If anyone can tell me the real story behind these faxes, I’d love to
hear it. Until then, here’s my version of events. Consumers, Groucho
Club habitues and awards judges alike love Howell Henry’s work. Whisper
it in Soho, but the truth is that the agency also has a reputation for
asking production companies to make ads for, um, next to nothing. So
much, they mutter, for breaking the creative mould. Weiland represents a
more traditional aspect of the industry. His is a blue-chip company
which offers star directors, at a price.
The only certainty is that the methods of producing ads are changing.
Agencies are buying Avids and establishment directors are threatened by
new talent. Frustrated agency creatives are itching to get behind a
camera. The Weiland vs Henry debate feels irreconcilable, but clients
have to be kept happy and so does the letters editor at Campaign. So
please keep the faxes flying.