John Ward sets up shop as ’firefighter’

John Ward, who retired as Bates UK’s vice-chairman earlier this month, is setting himself up as a planning ’firefighter’ to help agencies and clients tackle urgent problems.

John Ward, who retired as Bates UK’s vice-chairman earlier this

month, is setting himself up as a planning ’firefighter’ to help

agencies and clients tackle urgent problems.



Working under the name of Emergency Ward, the ex-planning chief says he

will be ready at a few hours’ notice to help sort out a planning

difficulty, advise on strategy for a new business pitch - and even

rescue a late agency submission for an IPA Effectiveness Award.



Ward said: ’Obviously I’m at the top end of the market in terms of what

I’m paid. But agencies and clients will need less of my time to sort out

a problem than they might if they employed somebody else.’



By establishing his own operation, Ward becomes the latest in a number

of experienced agency planners who have decided to go it alone to

capitalise on the dearth of top-class planning talent.



Ward said that he already had assignments from a direct marketing agency

and a consultancy and had been asked to become involved in a couple of

projects at his former agency. ’I would love to continue working with

Bates because I know its client base.’



During his 12 years at the agency, Ward helped evolve some of its most

high-profile campaigns, including its work for the Halifax and the Royal

Mail.



The positioning of his consultancy is based on what Ward said had been

his own experiences as a senior agency manager.



’It’s sod’s law that a client will call a pitch at the busiest time of

the year when an agency doesn’t have enough people and it has to risk

giving the work to a junior. I provide the heavyweight help to get it

out of a mess,’ he explained.