DIARY: O&M freebie for ASH is stubbed out by Europe

So tobacco advertisers have had their last gasp, have they? Don't you believe it. They still have the power to rattle agency cages.

Just ask Action on Smoking and Health, which has just been gifted an advertising opportunity only to have it snatched away by red-faced agency managers.

It started when Ogilvy & Mather made contact. Dave Williams and Paul Birch, one of its creative teams, had won a competition. Their prize: space on a six-sheet Adshel site near O&M's Docklands headquarters for a week for an organisation of their choice.

The team had come up with an execution highlighting the dangers of passive smoking. Would ASH like to endorse it? ASH most certainly would.

All seemed fine until Deborah Arnott, ASH's director took a call from a sheepish O&M suit. Mike Walsh, O&M's European chairman, had blocked the plan, fearful that the agency's British American Tobacco client might spontaneously combust on getting to hear of it.

ASH chiefs have take the setback philosophically. Just as well since they can't salve their frustrations by stepping out for a fag.

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