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

Q: What's happened to decent client entertainment? My agency only

seems to focus on sound strategic thinking and original creativity, and

never comes up with tickets to the opera or a major sporting event. I

know it's not PC to admit it but I do need to be schmoozed. Do I have

any choice but to call a review?



A: I wonder if you'd let me know the name of your current agency? I can

think of one or two clients - misguided old reactionaries, obviously -

who are still longing to find an agency that concentrates exclusively on

sound strategic thinking and original creative work.



That having been said, it's a pity that quality work and quality

schmoozing have come to be seen as mutually exclusive. Being a client is

such an unenviable job that you have every reason to hope for both.



So don't call a review: just invest a fraction of your budget in a bit

of creative pump-priming. Astonish your agency by inviting them to

things.



And I do mean things, in the plural: to the opera, to Wimbledon, to that

new lap-dancing club, to Battersea Arts Centre - all in the space of

three weeks. Then stop.



Reciprocation is guaranteed. When the return invitations flood in, make

your appreciation clear: write thank-you letters after every extravagant

excursion. If, after a year or so, the flood turns to a trickle, you may

need to prime the pump again: but (as you may wish to tell your

financial director) your ROI will still be at the very high end of the

top quartile.



Q: I'm the worldwide CEO of an international agency group and I've had

to appoint the creative director of one of our offices to the position

of chairman. I have no doubt that this represents an excellent move and

all seems to be well. He is charismatic, talented and highly respected

by his peers. I have only one problem: his hair. It's long, unruly and,

most worryingly, it's possibly a perm. In short, it's not very

chairmanly.



How best can I raise the issue of a haircut without earning his

resentment?



A: You seem to have stumbled on a formula here that your competitors

must envy. Far from raising the matter with your new chairman, you

should contact all senior personnel worldwide instructing them to grow

their hair into long and unruly ringlets forthwith. Build this condition

into their terms of employment and long-term incentive plans. Set an

example yourself. You may not all become talented, charismatic and

highly respected but at least your new chairman will no longer seem

unusual. (For this very reason, of course, he'll probably adopt a

crewcut.)



Q: Paul Smith, the regional creative director of Ogilvy & Mather,

writes: I'd like to ask a question of etiquette. I have served on many

domestic awards juries and have left the judging with no more than a

thank you, but since my elevation to an international role I have been

asked to judge international awards. The nub of the problem is that at

the end of the judging as a sign of organiser appreciation, the judges

are presented with anything from a four-foot bronze statue weighing a

little over 200 pounds to an impressive silver model of the Empire State

Building, which appeared to be only inches shorter than the real thing.

What is the politest way to reject these gifts?



A: Dear Paul, thank you for your kind enquiry. This is what you must do.

When next presented with a four-foot bronze statue, express unfathomable

gratitude. Go on to say that your pleasure in life is to put something

back into the industry that has given you so much. Ask that the

organisers forward your statue to the International Advertising

Association. Stress that the gift must remain strictly anonymous. You

will simultaneously reduce your excess baggage charges and greatly

enhance your reputation for philanthropy.



Jeremy Bullmore is a former chairman of J. Walter Thompson, a director

of Guardian Media Group and of WPP, and the president of NABS. He writes

a monthly column for Management Today. A more serious look at problems

in the workplace, it both inspired and complements On the Campaign

Couch.



Address your problems to him at Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Road, London

W6 7JP. Or e-mail campaign@haynet.com.



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