Much mirth in Belgrave Square on Monday afternoon when Nicholas
Parsons, that urbane old super trouper, hosted the draw pairing agencies
with charity clients as part of ITV’s Year of Promise.
One of the ways the network is marking millennium year is to give a
leg-up to low-profile charities - those with annual incomes of just
pounds 12,000 - by getting agencies to make commercials for them to be
screened nationally as part of the programming on 1 May.
Using a machine looking like one of Camelot’s cast-offs, John Tylee,
Campaign’s associate editor, was given the job of drawing the balls at
the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising while adland’s finest
awaited their fate.
The man from Poulter Partners in Leeds put on a brave face at the
prospect of finding a USP for a charity battling to save endangered
plants. The CDP rep, doubtless recalling wet dreams of Baywatch babes,
was more upbeat about taking a brief from the Surf Life Saving
Association of Great Britain and the Swimming Teachers’ Association.
But as a marriage made in heaven, what better than McCann-Erickson
Central and the Basic Skills Agency, which helps those with literacy and
numeracy problems. ’Great,’ exclaimed the McCanns man, ’I’ve got half a
dozen creatives - they can get started on it right away.’
Parsons, meanwhile, declared himself perpetually fascinated by agency
initials. What, he asked Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper’s Vicky Jacobs, did RSCG
stand for? ’Dunno,’ she replied. ’I think they’re all dead!’