CLOSE-UP: PERSPECTIVE;Will linking pay to quality of creative work help at JWT?

News to strike terror into your heart: ‘JWT links remuneration to creativity’, was the provocative headline on the fax from that venerable, admirable and not at all paranoid agency. ‘J. Walter Thompson is making creativity a top priority by linking the remuneration of its agencies’ chief executives and heads of planning as well as that of creative directors, to the agency’s creative output.’

News to strike terror into your heart: ‘JWT links remuneration to

creativity’, was the provocative headline on the fax from that

venerable, admirable and not at all paranoid agency. ‘J. Walter Thompson

is making creativity a top priority by linking the remuneration of its

agencies’ chief executives and heads of planning as well as that of

creative directors, to the agency’s creative output.’



Ignoring the obvious ‘why wasn’t creativity already a top priority’

question, there was only one possible response, ‘gulp!’. It got worse.

‘The improvement in quality...will be measured not against some abstract

or theoretical standard of excellence, but against comparable output

from the previous year.’



Lordy! The mind boggles at the thought of Allen Thomas, Chris Jones et

al deciding Dominic Proctor and Stephen Carter’s salaries on the basis

of whether Jaspar Shelbourne’s mob have cracked it. Please, please,

please can I sit in on the deliberations? I wouldn’t tell - much.



As it happens, I saw JWT’s reel the other day, and it’s miles better

than it has been in the recent past: the agency’s making real strides

with Kellogg’s, some interesting Entemann’s Cakes work (a tad

pretentious?), Madame Tussaud’s, Nestle Fruit Pastil lollies, a lovely

last Dulux film, good RAF work, a stunning Persil ad, and cable. Compare

this with all the wasted opportunities of recent years: Nintendo, Kodak,

Esso, Boots, and most of all, Barclays - a sorry list to which I’d add

current Nestle Rowntree work and Stena as the latest disappointments.



Proctor and co will be quids in - although, personally, I’d issue

penalty fines for Lux, Organics and Timotei. But there are so many other

pitfalls looming I’d pay to be a fly on the wall. How about if Nick

Welch and Billy Mawhinney, the previous creative directors, chose to sue

for libel by juxtaposition. They’d have a good case (believe me, I

know). In fact, the bigger the current boys’ pay rises, the more

interesting the old boys’ case. Who defines the top 5 per cent of staff

worldwide? Isn’t JWT Europe always banging on about how all the offices

work together, so how can any one office’s managers take credit? Will

the managers pass the bonuses on to the people who actually do the work?



It’s a great idea - as long as they publish the results. Most of all,

I’m struck by the prospect of the Haymarket big cheeses, Lindsay Masters

and Simon Tindall, sitting in judgment over my work, versus the previous

editor’s. Not financial performance, mind, which is a shame just now,

but creative. How would they judge? Line me up against Julie Burchill?

Compare the number of interesting words used or moody pictures taken? Is

this year’s Campaign better than last year’s? I trust the cheque’s in

the post, Lindsay - along with a writ from Dominic Mills.



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