PERSPECTIVE: Advertising is not boring if you’re at a thriving agency

Ask Jonathan Stead of Rapier Stead & Bowden if the current UK advertising scene is boring and you might receive an answer that differs from the prevailing consensus opinion. He’s going to be busy, busy, busy over the next couple of months, at the very least working on one of the country’s biggest advertising challenges: the consumer launch of the merged Cable & Wireless Communications. Good luck to his agency. I suspect it will need it for many different reasons.

Ask Jonathan Stead of Rapier Stead & Bowden if the current UK

advertising scene is boring and you might receive an answer that differs

from the prevailing consensus opinion. He’s going to be busy, busy, busy

over the next couple of months, at the very least working on one of the

country’s biggest advertising challenges: the consumer launch of the

merged Cable & Wireless Communications. Good luck to his agency. I

suspect it will need it for many different reasons.



Good luck, too, to Richard Hytner, back as the Publicis chief executive

after a year out of the business at the Henley Centre. What a

fascinating job it appeared when he took it. It still is. But for some

people, like Hytner and the high-profile client who spoke wistfully to

me the other day, the agency environment, for all those faults we

recounted so frequently and at such length, is like a drug. Once bitten

on problem-solving, the adrenalin rushes of pitches, the people and the

sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll - sorry, opportunities brought about by

the changing media landscape - forever smitten.



The key, to return to a familiar theme, is to be busy doing the

doing.



It’s why you don’t hear Rainey Kelly staff complain they’re bored, or

messrs Wnek, Gosper, Souter, Flintham and McLeod; why Trevor Beattie is

having the time of his life (as evidenced by the refreshing new

Wrigley’s film); why Tim Delaney can continue to attract talent like

Tiger Savage and Mark Goodwin to his alleged sweat-shop; and why Jay

Pond-Jones looks so happy these days.



What Publicis has over the Henley Centre is the satisfaction of getting

to that end creative product, as long as that product does emerge, and

within a reasonable timeframe. How that timeframe can be shortened, and

how to keep staff motivated while their ideas are pulled apart and

sanitised to the point of unrecognisable wallpaper, should be an

industry obsession.



What will worry Hytner and, for that matter, John Stubbings, who is back

from his Euro-role to run Bates Dorland, is that their jobs may not be

about doing the doing, but about politics. I wish the recent pasts of

their respective agencies could suggest otherwise but, in all honesty,

they don’t. Their jobs will be partly what they make of them and partly

what Michael Conroy and Michael Bungey let them make of them.



But when it all goes right; when there’s a confident trusting client

with an excellent relationship with an agency firing on all cylinders,

you can get consistently magnificent and innovative advertising of the

sort BMP DDB is producing across the board for Volkswagen right now -

rewarding for everyone involved.



We should all hope for all our sakes - except perhaps rivals such as

Euro RSCG, Lowes and O&M - that consumers are buying VWs in droves.



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