With BMW not exactly flavour of the month right now, word reaches
the Diary of an intriguing way the company is attempting to reingratiate
itself; managers past and present have formed a band.
The group, which is led by Kevin Gaskell, the former UK managing
director, and includes the sales and finance directors, specialises in
60s retro music and has just played the retirement gig for Matti
Alderson, the BMW-driving director-general of the Advertising Standards
Gaskell and Alderson are old friends. When it comes to posh cars,
Alderson can talk the brake pads off a wheel hub.
But then there’s quite a lot about the ASA’s Mystic Meg lookalike that
corrupts the image of advertising’s arbiter of what’s legal, decent and
At her goodbye bash at the Savoy, where the mercurial Alderson kissed
and photographed every guest, she lived up to her reputation as a night
owl, eschewing an offer to go clubbing but keeping a dinner party at the
Oxo Tower going until the small hours.
Even Lord Rodgers, the ASA’s chairman, seemed to enjoy himself, despite
what had started as a frosty relationship between the pair. In his
autobiography, Rodgers acknowledges that he and Alderson had ’a number
of tense encounters’ - mainly because of his hands-on style - before
peace broke out. He had failed to recognise that it wasn’t like a
Whitehall ministry. Alderson, he concedes, had a much freer hand than he
was used to. Nevertheless, he sends her on her way with a nice
’We settled down to a professional partnership as harmonious and
effective as any in my working life,’ he writes.