CAMPAIGN DIARY: Real actors nowhere to be seen as agency staff rush to stand in

Are agency personnel not being paid enough or are clients just stingy? One suspects the latter.

Are agency personnel not being paid enough or are clients just

stingy? One suspects the latter.



Whatever the cause, the number of agency staffers appearing in their own

commercials is increasing at a frightening rate.



Over the past month, no less than four agencies have had to prostitute

their staff as a result of a measly production budget - and they’re just

the ones who’ve owned up to it.



Take Nancy Barnes, PR manager at BMP DDB. She had to strike a rather

seductive pose for Virginstudent.com under the headline: ’Fancy a

personal assistant?’ Her colleague, the creative Alan McCuish, was also

roped in and had to spend the afternoon perfecting a ’cheeky little

grin’.



And what about Craik Jones? We know Rover is having problems but asking

an entire agency to squeeze its hairy arse into a Mini is surely beyond

the call of duty.



But Craik Jones, accepting that desperate times call for desperate

measures, rounded up its slimmest staff and stuffed them into the car in

exchange for a few beers and a bit of a grope on the back seat.



Meanwhile Indy Saha, one of Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters’ account

managers, found himself in a starring role for a Learndirect ad. To

disguise the fact that he was just a cheap substitute for a proper

actor, he was made to go through a casting session against fellow

account manager Ash Makkar.



Learndirect’s marketing director concluded Ash was ’too middle class’

but Saha, with his ’right common’ Sunderland accent, was perfect. His

sideburns had to go, however, as the client accused him of looking like

’the sort of guy who’d steal your hubcaps’.



(If Saha looks familiar it may be because he once asked Bob for a ’P’ on

the cult programme Blockbusters some years ago.)



But doing stuff on the cheap has its drawbacks as The Leith Agency has

discovered. Its latest campaign for Tennent’s lager is a pastiche of The

Sun’s ’Diedre’s Photo Casebook’. It features several members of the

agency staff airing their dirty linen in public on such topics as

affairs and sexual hang-ups.



The campaign is due to run for eight weeks but the agency is rapidly

running out of beautiful people. ’It’s true,’ claims the copywriter

Graham Doran. ’Most of us up here have a face like a box of frogs.’



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