Last week’s revelation that Bartle Bogle Hegarty is to open up shop in
the Far East could not have been better timed as far as the launch of
Campaign’s new International section is concerned. BBH is one of a small
group of London agencies - Leagas Delaney with Adidas, Howell Henry
Chaldecott Lury with Lego - that have woken up to the potential of
international business without a network. It has even been successful
enough to merit a Queen’s Award for Export.
Other leading London shops have utilised the selling of part or all of
their stock to good effect - Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, BMP DDB and Lowe
Howard-Spink. As they work for more and more overseas clients, hire
international staff and compete regularly on pitches against the cream
of foreign competition, they are forced to accept the inescapable: while
Britain can still lay claim to creating some of the best advertising in
the world, we only have to look at anything from our car industry to our
cricket team to see how sheer the fall from the top can be if we rest on
Our insularity can sometimes be frightening - Campaign being
unquestionably guilty in the past.
The creative community might pay its respects to Wieden and Kennedy and
a couple of other US hotshops, and give token D&AD pencils to the
handful of overseas entries to thank them for their fees, but then it
congregates around the bar at the Martinez Hotel during Cannes week,
confident that either Britain or the US will win the most Lions.
Meanwhile, those same creatives are oblivious to the attention being
paid to the work by delegates from other countries.
Our media industry too tends to get bogged down in parochial battles
between ITV Sport and Sky, Mirror Group Newspapers and News
International, interminable squabbles over Barb and the ABC, and the
cross-media ownership debate. How many of us are up to speed even with
developments on the European continent, let alone the US or Asia?
In Campaign’s new International section, the first ‘global player’
analysis of Havas, and the politics of its relationships with CLT,
Bertelsmann, Murdoch and the French government is but one eye-opener.
For a second, look no further than the piece on the US phenomenon that
is Martha Stewart (p28).
For years, such stories used to fill many of our readers with as much
dread as the prospect of taking a ‘Euro job’. Now that those jobs are
filled by the likes of Mike Walsh and Terry Rosenquist; talents such as
Pete Watkins and Simon Sherwood are to reside in Asia; and half the
British planning community appears to be working in the US, isn’t it
about time we acknowledged that the world extends beyond the steps of
the stage at the Grosvenor House Hotel?