Diary of an agency start-up: Coffins, contracts and transparency

Henry Daglish, the founder of Bountiful Cow, is writing a diary for Campaign about his media agency start-up. This is his fifth instalment.

Diary of an agency start-up: Coffins, contracts and transparency

Henry… what’s a f@ck coffin?

"May you live In interesting times" is, I’m told, an old Chinese curse.

Despite the hours and stress, this can be a very amusing job sometimes, even when you find yourself working on a pitch for a funeral insurance product

Well, whilst I’m sure that there simply can’t be anyone out there wanting to curse us (*puts hands in pockets, thinks about the state of the industry, whistles quietly*), times certainly are interesting here at Bountiful Cow.

Despite the hours and stress, this can be a very amusing job sometimes, even when you find yourself working on a pitch for a funeral insurance product.

At the final stage of said pitch this month, we were working through the first stages of negotiation with the client, alongside Blackwood7, with whom we had partnered for the project.

We decided to pop into the "final final" terms that, should we be successful, we wanted "a free big f@ck off coffin" as part of the deal.

However the version that went to the client, resplendent with a tiny yet magnificent error, actually requested "a free f@ck coffin".

I assure you that it was indeed an error and not a strange Danish kink. Needless to say, it was hilarious.

In other, more serious news, the last few weeks have been dominated by the combination of The Times' "Brands Fund Terror" investigation and our announcement of the adoption of our own version of the ISBA contract – endorsed by ISBA itself.

It’s fair to say that I don’t think any of us will be taking much time off in the near future

I think we all know that The Times' piece may have been a touch sensational but it did send tremors across the industry.

We’ve been very vocal about how bad practice has helped stoke this fire but have also taken clear and unequivocal actions ourselves to contract to a completely transparent way of working with our clients.

If we are going to say the things we do, we have to back them with actions not words.

To us, spending months with the7stars, our parent company, and ISBA's commercial and legal team to secure contractual best practice was just the start.

In the 24 hours following the release of the news, we received a call from a prospective client whose size, stature and legacy relationships would make for serious news if anything were to come of it.

It’s fair to say that I don’t think any of us will be taking much time off in the near future.

Such opportunities are creating the aforementioned interesting time for us all.

It’s now a case of selecting the best chances for success and learning where to say no.

It's not easy I know, but at the very least I will redouble my efforts to make sure that I don’t miss too many important words in my emails.

Henry Daglish is the founder of Bountiful Cow.
@bountifulcowmoo

Henry Daglish recommends

Read the first in the series

Read more

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