Agency executives in the UK were this week desperately trying to
check on the safety of colleagues in New York after the city suffered
the most devastating terrorist attack in history.
With phone lines to Manhattan jammed, senior managers have been
e-mailing for news from New York staffers left largely unscathed but
terrified by the suicide raids on the World Trade Centre.
Agencies' offices in and around Madison Avenue were turned into
makeshift dormitories and feeding centres for staff either unable to
travel home because of the chaos or too frightened to try.
At Saatchi & Saatchi, whose Hudson Street office is only 500 yards from
the Centre, a global Procter & Gamble meeting was interrupted by the
first plane crashing into one of the twin towers.
Executives, who included the chief executive, Kevin Roberts, and Tamara
Ingram, the executive chairman of the London office, watched in horror
as the second aircraft completed its deadly mission.
Maurice Levy, the worldwide chairman of the Publicis group, ordered a
24-hour shutdown of the group's Saatchis, Zenith and Optimedia
operations in New York.
Speaking to Publicis managers, Levy said the attacks were "beyond the
imagination of anyone who believes in decent moral values".
Michael Bungey, the Cordiant chief executive, said: "The other day I was
on the 90th floor of the World Trade Centre, meeting investors. I fear
they are now all dead."
At Fallon, just two blocks away in the Woolworth building, staff fled
their offices. The Euro RSCG Worldwide office was evacuated immediately
after the attacks; the Bates group, which has 1,100 staff in the city,
and McCann-Erickson closed but offered employees the option of staying
overnight; Omnicom's headquarters remained open for business, as did J.
Walter Thompson. FCB's office was due to be closed until Friday.
However, agency bosses do not believe the destruction and its effect on
staff will force agencies to change handling arrangements for accounts
run out of New York. "People will cover for each other and clients will
be understanding," Peter Mead, Omnicom's deputy chairman, said.
In London, Ogilvy & Mather's offices at Canary Wharf were evacuated but
opened the next day. Robert Fletcher, the chief executive of M&C
Saatchi's New York office, who is visiting the UK, spent Thursday
finding out if his 50 staff were safe.
WPP group's chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, sent managers a memo
expressing his sorrow. He said: "One hesitates to say anything at this
time, everything will depend on political events and retaliatory
In the short term this will be damaging economically. In the long term
it may help concentrate minds on what it will take to get the economy
Editor's comment: "None of our readers will be wondering why Campaign
looks different this week. It would have been inappropriate to fill this
front page with the usual collection of news stories about account wins
"Worries about a faltering advertising economy pale into insignificance
when placed alongside the fact that thousands of lives have suddenly
been ended by these despicable acts of terror.
"While Tuesday's tragic events are just that - events, not cycles - they
will have a big effect on corporate and consumer confidence, which are
both critical to the amount that is spent by clients on advertising. We
can expect the impact on advertising revenue to be deep as the US adopts
a more defensive stance.
"But at this stage the only appropriate response is to extend heartfelt
sympathies to all the individuals, their families and colleagues who
were caught up in Tuesday's attacks in the US."