Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Tim Ashton versus Bates
Dorland affair (and, let’s face it, it was pretty unseemly to get rid of
one creative director without having another in the wings and then
taking five months to complete the search) the agency finally has a new
creative director in Jay Pond-Jones. It looks like a good choice.
First, an agency like Dorlands has no place for a creative director
renowned for volatility in either work or behaviour; 90 per cent
perspiration and 10 per cent inspiration is the order of the day when
the emphasis is on commercially effective work for clients such as the
Halifax, Safeway and Woolworths. In this environment, Pond-Jones’s
legendary reserve will be an asset.
Second, he has never been one of those creatives who feels that they
comprise the only worthwhile department in an agency; that they work the
magic while the rest of the staff are just journeymen. At GGT, he was
quick to point to the contribution of the planners and suits to his best
work for Holsten Pils, John Smith’s and Capital Radio.
Third - and most important given the legal pyrotechnics after the
departures of Paul Twivy, Andrew Cracknell and Ashton - Graham Hinton,
the Dorlands chairman, already has a professional rapport with
Pond-Jones dating from the pair’s time together at DMB&B.
The only unproven thing about Pond-Jones is whether he is as good a
creative director as he is a creative, for, as every creative director
who has toiled under the burden of managing people will tell you, the
tasks are very different. At GGT, he had Robert Saville to confer with,
while at Dorlands he will have to manage alone some powerful
personalities, including that of Paul Walter - deputy creative director
and pivotal to the Halifax account - among others.
Finally, I hadn’t intended to write about the Guinness review, on the
grounds that we have covered it in this week’s Leader, but I think it is
important to note the surprise that the pitch is taking place at
’Is O&M really doing such a bad job?’ seems to be a valid question. The
fact is, as O&M has no doubt realised, that most accounts change hands
after a review and the odds are against agencies retaining business in
this way. There is also a feeling in the industry that it is somehow
more honourable to resign an account than to repitch. It seems to show
evidence of a principled approach in an industry which is otherwise
renowned for what is euphemistically called pragmatism. There is also a
’that’ll show’em’ element which is applauded by other agencies. Yet is
it really braver to walk away than to go into a review and face the
agonising questions of whether to spend the money and whether to throw
away your existing campaign? I’m not so sure.
Stefano Hatfield is on holiday.