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

Q: Patrick Collister writes: Dear Jeremy, I am honoured to be a

juror of this year's Cyber Lions in Cannes. All my fellow judges are

wired dudes in their twenties. One or two may have nudged thirty. I am

in my maturing forties. How can I get them to see me as "one of them",

even though when, recently, I tried to buy a pair of Twist Levi's they

refused to sell them to me?



A: Dear Patrick, thank you for your kind enquiry. Are you really only in

your forties? I've always admired your personal packaging and had

assumed that the tweed jacket and donnish air were conscious and highly

successful ruses designed to sidestep the age issue altogether.



So it distresses me to learn that a person of your distinction should

yearn to be accepted as a wired dude. (When we next have lunch I hope

you will remind me, if necessary with the aid of diagrams, exactly what

a wired dude is.)



The strategy I had wrongly believed you to have adopted instinctively is

the strategy you should certainly adopt at Cannes. Imagine yourself in a

Merchant Ivory movie, based on a novel by Henry James and with

additional dialogue by Ian Fleming. Sport a panama hat and a manservant.

Leave your open-topped Bentley unattended on La Croisette. Arrange for

someone delicious and coffee-coloured to greet you as you leave the

juryroom on your first evening. And another on your second.



Enjoy yourself - and leave envy to others.



PS: What is a Twist Levi and why did you want two?



Q: Mark Wnek writes: The Cannes awards shortlist screening is the most

instructive and dramatic exercise in understanding commercials. Unlike

the British, Johnny Foreigner doesn't stand on ceremony when it comes to

making feelings about commercials known: gratuitous product shots,

marketing strategies posing as commercials, inelegant and overpowering

logos, all this and more is instantly greeted by a thousand whistles,

catcalls and seats hurled at the screen.



Clients of the kind who perhaps undervalue the minutiae of our craft

would benefit enormously from sitting in that audience and seeing how

massively influential these minutiae are. Trouble is, dare one take

clients to Cannes where, in an untended moment, they may stumble across

elements of the ad industry (tiny elements and entirely unrepresentative

of the industry as a whole, of course) quaffing Dom Perignon, guzzling

caviar and shagging anything that moves?



A: Dear Mark, thank you for your kind enquiry. You get to the nub of

your problem with the use of the word untended. Clients should never be

left untended, whether in Cannes or the Twickenham car park. You could,

I suppose, warn your client of the presence in Cannes of a gang of

notorious kidnappers, well known to Interpol, who specialise in holding

multinational marketing executives to ransom. (Only last week, you

happen to know, a European fried chicken president was found hideously

dismembered near Cap d'Antibes.) This would at least explain your

insistence on remaining in close proximity with your client at all times

- and protect him from stumbling across that tiny and unrepresentative

minority of which you so properly disapprove.



But, on reflection, I wonder if your initial assumption is correct. Just

as few creative people respect the creative judgment of clients, just

how many clients will respect the opinion of whistling, catcalling,

seat-throwing foreigners? To return to the UK with a client now more

committed than ever to gratuitous logos and pulsing packshots would be

poor reward for six abstemious days and nights handcuffed to a

humourless marketing director.



Go on your own; and join the minority.



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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