Diary: Tax attacks

The Times ran a story in its business section last week attacking HM Revenue & Customs, after a freedom of information request revealed that a £6 million marketing campaign against tax avoidance "used an advertising agency ultimately controlled in an offshore haven".

The agency in question is the research company TNS, a subsidiary of WPP, which is "incorporated in Jersey", as The Times noted in scandalised tones. Doubtless News UK, the owner of The Times, will want to cut all its links with WPP agencies forthwith, including Group M and Wunderman, which both work for the publisher. It may be too much to think it was taxation, rather than a change of creative direction, that prompted News UK to dump another WPP agency, Grey London, before Christmas.


Ad agencies should be cooler than their clients. It’s the natural order and reversing it leads to chaos. A case in point is the agency head who, in a bid to impress a hip young group of visiting clients, asked his staff to hang out in the agency lobby to "create a buzz". After a while, the chief executive said to one of the loiterers: "I think that’s enough of a buzz, you can go back to your desk now." Only to discover that he was talking to one of the clients. Cringe.

Rope and glory

What will become of the velvet-rope barrier belonging to Justin Tindall at Leo Burnett when the new chief creative officer, Chaka Sobhani, arrives in May? The rope demarcated Tindall’s desk area in the open-plan office, stopping people from traipsing through it. Asked if the barrier would remain, an agency spokeswoman, rightly nonplussed by Diary’s questioning, said wryly: "I couldn’t possibly comment." Diary will have that Pulitzer now, please.

Got a diary story? E-mail us at campaign.diary@haymarket.com 

Social photos of the week, 8 April 2016

The team from Atomic London who won Red Sofa’s annual darts contest meet Eric Bristow, the former world number one. Super, smashing, great.

"See that? I’m going to space in that," the BMB co-founder Trevor Beattie wrote on Twitter last week.

This is a bunny rabbit that Crispin Porter & Bogusky London has put up for adoption. They named it Crispy. A staff member rescued the rabbit from a subpar pet shop.

WCRS’s joint executive creative director Ross Neil is amusing himself during his paternity leave doing… well, stuff like this to his newborn using the MSQRD app.

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