The Annual 2004: The 10 Best letters

1. Michael Winner took time to pen his thanks for receiving another Turkey of the Week (Campaign, 6 August)

I was thrilled to receive my second Turkey of the Week award (Campaign, 23 July).

I got the first one for the commencement of my esure ads, which sold so many policies that the company had to take on massive extra staff to cope with the phone calls. Then it commissioned more commercials, which are still running.

The one you have honoured now, for First Alternative, has also been a great success. We have done a second one already. More are planned.

Tell me, if I get a third Turkey award, do I get a prize? If so, I'll forego the electric kettle and have the Aston Martin.

2. John (Clogger) Morell questioned why we credit creative directors at the awards nights? (Campaign, 2 July)

I was wondering if anyone could tell me whose idea it was to credit creative directors at awards. Perhaps the concept could be rolled out to include a mention for Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger next time Ruud van Nistelrooy and Thierry Henry find the net for Goal of the Month. Via e-mail

3. Mike Court was puzzled by a profile on Publicis' Rick Bendel (Campaign, 17 September)

It was nice to hear that Rick Bendel is actually shy and sensitive (Campaign, 3 September). He must have changed a lot since the late 70s, when I was a graduate trainee in the media department at Leo Burnett: in those days, he took huge delight in calling me, loudly and publicly: "That queer." Via e-mail

4. Dave Trott took issue with Trevor Robinson's Private View (Campaign, 20 February)

In Private View (Campaign, 13 February), Trevor Robinson refers to the two Persil posters as follows: "These posters remind me of the 'Trottesque' advertising we were made to do at college. But, in saying that, they will probably win a design award."

It's very nice to be credited with starting an entire school of advertising but, unless I'm mistaken, he's saying Trottesque advertising is advertising that doesn't work but looks good.

I've never met Trevor Robinson but I, and my various creative departments, have been running advertising courses, via D&AD and Watford, for about 30 years.

I'd be interested if anyone from any of those courses, or anyone who's ever worked with me, remembers the general thrust of my views on advertising as: "Fuck whether it works or not, just make sure it looks good and wins awards." Creative director, Walsh Trott Chick Smith

5. Orlando Hooper-Greenhill gave his version of the Mark Wnek and Ben Langdon split (Campaign, 19 March)

There is no doubt that this is a good story, a great story, it's enough to keep you going for weeks ("Wnek abandoned as Langdon walks," Campaign, 12 March). That bit's easy.

But, after all the fuss and hearsay dies down, there's something more important in this, obviously about values but also about judgment.

When you go into business with "the bastard brothers" (Campaign, 21 November 2003), the phrase "eyes wide open" doesn't really cover it.

However, what soon becomes clear is that this moniker is a misrepresentation, a catchphrase from an industry easily seduced by image and hyperbole. Two people labelled the same but who could be no more different.

Behind an intimidating presence, Mark is a genuine and trustworthy person; who, throughout this, has behaved with more honesty and dignity than many would think necessary given the circumstances.

There is something else people will not necessarily see; there were clients and pitches. This did work, it worked very well. It was simply undone by selfishness.

I heard Nigel Bogle speak about the industry a few weeks ago. He spoke about what was important in this business; simplicity, teamwork, commitment and leadership, and then apologised for a generation who had forgotten these values, fixated by selfishness and greed.

Hang on, he's telling the same story.

Founding partner, Ben Mark Orlando

6. Simon Sinclair defended agency job titles (Campaign, 6 August)

Your editorial mused on how we managed to keep a straight face when explaining our titles to people (Campaign, 23 July).

The simple answer is that we take our roles as communicators seriously.

Having tried in vain to explain to our mothers, neighbours and bank managers (all of whom failed to keep a straight face) what an account director, creative director and planning director actually do in an advertising agency, we found that the titles head of order, head of chaos and head of fluffiness did the job perfectly.

Head of chaos, Pravda

7. James Parsons was scathing in his attack on Campaign's coverage of St Luke's carbon-neutral policy (Campaign, 9 July)

Emma Barns' article was arch and self-satisfied sneering at St Luke's carbon-neutral policy and your leader column in the same issue only marginally less so (Campaign, 25 June). The article was loaded with small-minded prejudice, from the schoolyard-sarcastic title that ridicules any positive action, to the commentators sourced, to the conclusion.

Get this: action is needed now. Environmental responsibility and reduction of carbon emissions is not the preserve of cranky eccentrics and blithering do-gooders. Deforestation and rising water levels have led to the deplacement and impoverishment of millions of people around the world. Closer to home, it is widely accepted that, because of global warming, London houses within 50 metres of the Thames will be uninsurable within 30 years.

At Flamingo we are working towards a carbon-neutral travel policy. We are not doing this because we feel we can save the planet in our own right or want to give ourselves a medal, but because we believe that taking this kind of action may lead others to follow our lead and start to develop a discourse wherein environmental responsibility becomes second nature for organisations. How sad that the rest of the industry, an industry of ideas, creativity and imagination, has, if Barns' article is to be believed, reacted like this.

Director, Flamingo International

8. Clive Barnett bemoaned the childishness of some creative teams (Campaign, 16 January)

I ended the year in ecstatic mood when I saw that my letter had been voted Campaign's eighth-best letter of the year (although I have to say I thought my letter was better than Trevor Beattie's at seventh, but there you go).

My point this time round is as follows: why is the ad industry currently so fascinated with sexual innuendo? While enjoying my Christmas lunch, I was dumbstruck when a woman in an ad for Harveys furniture started with the immortal line: "My husband gave me a pearl necklace." As you know, I am gay, but I still know what a pearl necklace is. We have a different phrase for it among gay men.

I can just see the creative team giggling like pre-pubescent schoolboys when the client they were presenting to was either too old or too sexually unaware to know what a pearl necklace was. And why didn't the BACC pick up on it?

It used to be the case that ad agencies just enjoyed spending a client's money by going on jollies around the Caribbean - now, with dwindling budgets, it seems the only fun they can have is seeing how many pathetic innuendoes they can slip in (geddit?) to a piece of communication.

I am currently putting together a list of agencies to pitch for my business. I can't wait to see the results. Via e-mail

9. Tim Lindsay recalled a face-off between Derek the car-park man and Lesley Wunderman (Campaign, 12 November)

Derek (Close-up, 29 October) is a legend in Greater London House.

He said exactly the same thing to me as I entered the car park for the first time in October 1991, as an eager new managing director of Young & Rubicam.

Derek's hobby was shooting at the GLH wildlife with a rusty and inaccurate air rifle. There were always crippled pigeons hopping around Camden.

He also had a famous encounter with Lester Wunderman, whose company had been acquired by Y&R Inc and who was in London to inspect the troops.

Lester drives into the car park:

Derek: "You can't fucking park there."

Lester: "But I'm Wunderman."

Derek: "I don't care if you're fucking Superman, you can't park there."

Chairman, Publicis UK

10. Stephen Ward found the creative process behind WCRS's 3 "jellyfish" ad hard to fathom (Campaign, 22 October)

Two Chinese cowboys and a jellyfish. Hmm, I can only imagine how the client meeting went:

Agency (Julian Hough): "That's right, two Chinese cowboys and a huge jellyfish with a drink problem."

Client (Julian Hough): "I love it, but what does it mean?"

Agency: "Don't know. Does it matter?"

Client: "Not really. How much will it cost?"

Agency: "I don't care. Do you?"

Client: "How did you come up with the idea of a jellyfish?"

Agency: "There's no need to get personal."

Client: "Hang on, what was that noise?"

Agency: "What noise?"

Client: "Nothing. For a moment, I thought I heard someone else in the room."

Oh dear, oh dear.

Creative director, McCann Erickson.


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