CLOSE-UP: ON THE CAMPAIGN COUCH ... WITH JB

Q: Last week a story appeared in the trade press saying that my company was reviewing its creative advertising account. To my knowledge this was utterly untrue, so I phoned the editor to complain and, I must admit, lost my rag. However, it has subsequently emerged that, indeed, there is a pitch going on - albeit not in my division. Should I eat humble pie?

A: Not for the first time (and certainly not for the last) let me invite a patient to look at a problem through the eyes of another: in this instance, the eyes of the editor in question. How do you suppose you seem to him? Or, indeed, to her?

You know nothing of an important review taking place within your own company. Without bothering to check the facts, you call the editor to complain and then lose your temper. And now that it has emerged that the editor was right and that you were wrong, you remain silent.

Yes: you're quite right. On the evidence of your behaviour to date, the editor knows you to be insignificant, self-important, negligent, boorish and cowardly.

If you still need me to tell you what to do next, you must also be extremely stupid.

Q: I am the marketing director of a medium-sized FMCG advertiser. My agency recently resigned my account owing to the global realignment of a competitor into its parent network. I called a pitch seeking a successor and have been impressed by two agencies' work. What are the pitfalls of asking both agencies to work for me?

A: In inverse order of importance:

It will cost you twice as much. (And if it doesn't, it should.)

You will be perpetually confused: and so will they.

They will be trying to outwit each other rather than your competitors.

Your marketing communications will be even more incoherent than usual.

The Law of Diminished Responsibility will inevitably apply: neither agency will feel the necessary, naked sense of ultimate accountability.

Against this, of course, you can duck making exactly the sort of decision you're paid to make and double your chances of a decent lunch.

Q: Why do production companies think everyone needs to be sustained by enormous bicep-shaped sausage sandwiches when standing around all day on an ad shoot?

A: Within minutes of the arrival of independent television in 1955, commercial production companies realised that clients and their advertising agencies became mindless and mesmerised when confronted with the glamour of making movies.

For well over a hundred years, clients and their agency equivalents were perfectly happy to leave printers, blockmakers and compositors to get on with their work in peace and solitude. Nobody put on trainers and shades and jetted off to Leeds for five days to oversee the production of their latest 48-sheet poster. But in 1955, a new conscientiousness was born. From marketing directors to trainee copywriters, attendance at the shoot became a central part of the job description.

Commercials directors may bitterly complain; some of them sincerely.

But the production houses for whom they work delight in this universal display of responsibility: more expenditure on which to apply the mark-up; fewer recriminations at the first showing.

So every artifice is employed to maintain the illusion that this entirely functionless audience is importantly engaged in the making of real movies.

In this deception, location services are key; and within location services, the bacon roll and the sausage sandwich are the undisputed stars. Their very size and indigestibility provide the only evidence we need: it's a rugged world out here and dirty work - but someone's got to do it.

Q: Boymeetsgirl. Nonsense or inspirational as an agency name?

A: I'll tell you in seven years' time. People continue to believe that names imbue objects with meaning. They don't. Objects imbue names with meaning.

- Jeremy Bullmore is a former chairman of J. Walter Thompson and a director of WPP. He also writes a monthly column for Management Today. Address your problems to him at campaign@haynet.com or Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Rd, London W6 7JP.

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).