HEADLINER: Resolute mover who intends to show he’s a DMB&B shaker - Ron Mudge hopes this job will mean a calmer career path, Anna Griffiths writes

Four years ago, Ron Mudge told a journalist that he wanted to be a ’mover and shaker’ and raise his profile. Four years on, Mudge has earned people’s respect and been poached by DMB&B to fill a brand new role (Campaign, last week), but has retained a steadfastly low profile.

Four years ago, Ron Mudge told a journalist that he wanted to be a

’mover and shaker’ and raise his profile. Four years on, Mudge has

earned people’s respect and been poached by DMB&B to fill a brand new

role (Campaign, last week), but has retained a steadfastly low

profile.



As communications director at DMB&B, he promises to renew his efforts to

attract more attention, although he adds that ’media partying doesn’t

come to me naturally’.



When he joins DMB&B sometime in the next three months, Mudge will cause

ripples as he tries to co-ordinate accounts between DMB&B’s creative

department and the media companies it works with. But Mudge is unfazed

by a role that at times will be questioned. ’From the first day I will

have to say what I’m intending to do. The trickier role is convincing

buyers that I’m not getting in the way. I’m sure there will be times

when we will have a difference of opinion, but that’s healthy.’



Mudge can show steely resolve when he wants to. His former and future

colleague, Jim Marshall, the chief executive of MediaVest, says: ’If he

thinks things aren’t right, he’s got quite a quick temper. He’s a very

strong individual and very single-minded.’



Mudge knows what he wants from his new colleagues. ’The effectiveness of

creativity is important. I want to inject creative accountability from a

media perspective. Is this advertising working, can media help, and what

have we learned from the last campaign?’ Quoted as once saying he was

’more an advertising man than a media man’ (he claims he was misquoted),

Mudge seems to be closer to his ideal with his new role. He admits that

his past ambition to get on to the creative side was handicapped. ’I

can’t write like a copywriter and my five-year-old draws better than

me.’



Mudge is essentially part of DMB&B’s efforts to prepare for battle in

1998 and improve its flagging record of account wins. His appointment

follows the hiring of Nigel Marsh and Max Burt from Abbott Mead Vickers

BBDO as marketing director and planning director respectively. DMB&B’s

managing director, Barry Cook, who worked with Mudge at Yellowhammer,

explains: ’I want us to be leading, not following. To be inventive,

clever and creative and do all these things that will make our work more

effective for clients.’ As for Mudge’s way of working, Cook says: ’He’s

a media person who really believes in advertising and recognises media

is not just about numbers, deals and lunches.’



Mudge, described by one colleague as looking like ’Andy Garcia with a

big nose’, comes across as a nice bloke, who looks after his hair (sleek

and suspiciously glossy) and is obsessed with Liverpool football club.

Marshall quips: ’He’s not quite trendy enough to be a Chelsea supporter.

His latest haircut is a hangover from the 70s, which is when Liverpool

was successful.’



Getting any personal details out of Mudge is like extracting teeth. So

what did I manage to glean from him, apart from that he’s a Liverpool

supporter, lives in Islington and has a five-year-old son? Not much. He

goes to the Pregnant Man for a few pints with colleagues, but not too

many because he says he tends to work terribly with a hangover. Digging

any dirt is well nigh impossible, partly because his old colleagues

claim the stories they have to tell are unprintable.



How convenient.



The one thing DMB&B should be aware of is Mudge’s tendency to join

companies that end up merging. He was media director at Yellowhammer

when it was taken over by DMB&B Media, which was turned into the Media

Centre. After a short, disastrous stint at the Media Works, which he

helped found with the Palace Pictures account that went bust, he joined

Alliance as media director which, in October 1993, was bought by Laing

Henry. In March 1995, Laing Henry was bought by Saatchi & Saatchi. ’I

haven’t moved much by choice!’ he admits.



Mudge admits the course of his life has not run entirely smoothly. ’We

are all allowed one huge mistake. Mine was leaving the Media Centre when

it was poised to do what it did. I was a shell-shocked by the

Yellowhammer takeover because it was very difficult.’ Let’s hope Mudge

doesn’t regret his move to DMB&B and that he will convince the people he

works with that he is a mover and shaker, and indispensable with it.



THE MUDGE FILE

1982 Downtown Advertising, media executive

1983 Grandfield Rork Collins,media executive

1987 Yellowhammer, media manager then director

1990 Media Centre, co-founder

1992 The Media Works, founding partner

1992 Alliance, media director

1993 Laing Henry, media director

1995 Saatchi & Saatchi, group media director

1997 DMB&B, communications director



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