PERSPECTIVE: It’s time to remove jaded hacks from the ’comfort zone’

There we were, two weeks ago in our grotty Hammersmith hovel, being miserable hacks, speculating glibly on the potential length of tenure of Ruth Blakemore in her Cable & Wireless Communications marketing director’s job. ’Hah!’ we laughed in a tone that you will all recognise, ’give her a year?’

There we were, two weeks ago in our grotty Hammersmith hovel, being

miserable hacks, speculating glibly on the potential length of tenure of

Ruth Blakemore in her Cable & Wireless Communications marketing

director’s job. ’Hah!’ we laughed in a tone that you will all recognise,

’give her a year?’



The opinion was rooted not in personal antipathy, but in the ’seen it

all before’ mentality that arises whenever something happens to break

the cycle of familiarity within any industry. In this case the spur was

Blakemore shunning some of Britain’s best-known shops to appoint Rapier

Stead & Bowden. It would fair to say that ignorance of that agency

played some part in our idle chatter.



Similar office bets have been laid on (among others): Paul Twivy’s and

then Tim Ashton’s appointment at Bates Dorland; when PHD would sell

up/out; Jan Smith’s length of tenure at the RAC once we’d seen the work;

when the Rover ’hostage’ ad would be pulled; how long the US boss of

Leagas Delaney’s San Francisco office would last; when K Advertising

would finally give up the ghost; that the D&AD split-venue idea was

inviting problems; how long it will be before the Nationwide changes its

mind again and appoints a major agency; when BMP and Lowes would give up

the ghost on full service; and whose head will roll first at Channel

5?



Nice lot, aren’t we? As you can see some events have come to pass, and

some haven’t - yet. Believe it or not, there is a certain sadness felt

whenever they do. The only ’satisfaction’ (and that’s not the right

word) anyone might possibly take from such predictions coming true is

that you might think you know how your industry works. You feel secure

within the comfort zone. We’d all rather be surprised more often.



So, here are a few things that really would surprise us: the IPA, ISBA

and ITV finding the courage to say that extra minutage is not the

answer; a major advertiser (other than Coca-Cola) unbundling its

centralisation, admitting that the day-to-day cost savings were not

worth the anonymity of the work, and its long-term cost to the client’s

brands; a big agency taking media back in-house and clients giving it

their media business; women making up 10 per cent of the creative

community; the Times and the Telegraph admitting they’re just trying to

score points off each other; finding anyone prepared to be sceptical

about the Net in print; ditto integration; a director accepting

criticism graciously; Visa ’kerching’ winning an IPA Effectiveness

Award; Ben Langdon writing a book on the value of planning; Rupert

Howell admitting HHCL & Partners has lost a piece of business; and

readers calling Campaign on a Thursday morning to praise the issue.



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