THE BOOK OF LISTS: Howell halts McCann's Turkey habit

So it's true - Rupert Howell really is a miracle worker. Walking on water seems like a doddle compared with halting McCann-Erickson's habit of winning the least coveted accolade in advertising: topping the annual Campaign League of Shame.

Nevertheless, the mercurial new chief of McCann's European network has done it. Barely three months after his arrival at Herbrand Street, the London agency has ceded top spot for the first time in three years.

A damn close-run thing it was but, at the end, McCann's crown is headed for Canary Wharf and on to Ogilvy & Mather's uneasy head.

It was Ford wot won it for O&M, notably the toe-curling TV comercials for the Fiesta and the Mondeo. Remember that spot that must have left most viewers feeling as queasy as the storm-battered fisherman being lured to shore by the headlights of his girlfriend's Ford? "A corny plot rendered even more improbable by terrible casting," was Campaign's verdict.

Not that McCann gave up without a fight. Indeed, it might have made it four in a row had there been any more ads like that excruciating Bacardi Breezer film suggesting the drink can make you act like a prick in front of your future father-in-law.

So well done to McCann. Meanwhile, it looks as though James Sinclair, hired by O&M earlier this year to be Ford's creative catalyst, will need a powerful set of jump leads for Christmas.

- League of Shame, Diary.

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