OPINION: PERSPECTIVE - Yellow M may be on a hiding to nothing with the Tory affair

In advertising, as in politics, a week is a long time. A short while ago, Yellow M’s name barely registered on anybody’s radar screen. Now, with the Conservative Party’s account in its pocket, the agency’s curiosity value has soared.

In advertising, as in politics, a week is a long time. A short

while ago, Yellow M’s name barely registered on anybody’s radar screen.

Now, with the Conservative Party’s account in its pocket, the agency’s

curiosity value has soared.



Little matter that the appointment smacks of desperation. Agencies such

as Yellow M must seize their opportunities where they can.



A brand that’s lost its way wants to be famous again. And if Yellow M

can work the magic, it too can make its name.



But the ’if’ is a big one and, loathe as I am to pour cold water on

Geordie euphoria, I can’t help but have an uncomfortable feeling that

this relationship may not be a long one, nor withstand the strain of a

General Election run-up.



At first glance, there are some obvious reasons why Tory Central Office

chose to transfer its account beyond Soho’s confines. William Hague’s

extreme views on issues such as asylum seekers may be repugnant to the

Hampstead dinner-party libertarians but they strike a chord in

provincial high streets.



So why not appoint a regional agency that will tell it straight without

having to rely on arty-farty creative work?



Undoubtedly, the Tories will have felt that the time was right to break

completely with their famous advertising tradition and bring it out from

under Maurice Saatchi’s long shadow. Moreover, his elevation to the Tory

front bench in the Lords raises some awkward issues about conflict of

interest.



Yellow M seems to have muscled its way into contention with some robust

work for the Scottish Tories before last year’s elections to the

Edinburgh parliament. But this was created without the kind of pressures

that agency staffers who have never experienced them cannot even begin

to imagine.



Talk to those who worked on the Saatchi & Saatchi election team and the

memories are of a 35-strong group working up to 120 hours a week,

including weekends. And of arriving in the office at 6am and rarely

leaving much before midnight.



Timetables are tight even before the election race gets in full

swing.



If a fleet of advans is needed, it’s needed right away and it’s up to

the agency to deliver. The demands on creatives can be huge, with up to

half a dozen executions rejected for every one that runs. In the

production department, other clients’ work may have to go to the back of

the queue while election material gets priority.



If that’s not enough, there’s the party political broadcasts which need

the specialised talents of that endangered breed, the long

copywriter.



What’s more, it’s easier for big agencies to overcome widespread Tory

animosity within production companies fearful that the agency will put

other business elsewhere than it is for a small regional shop.



And, even supposing that the agency can find all the talent and

resources it needs, do the Tories look like a government-in-waiting?

Good luck Yellow M, you’ll need it.



john.tylee@haynet.com.



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