Ask Bullmore: The questions I never got to answer
A view from Jeremy Bullmore

Ask Bullmore: The questions I never got to answer

Here are a few questions from years ago that I never got around to answering.

My agency doesn’t have a branded content division. Are we square?

No. Extremely sensible.

Why are all ads for tourist destinations so universally bad?

Advertising has no place for such smug certainties.

I want to launch a media comms planning agency and am in the process of picking partners. Is there a maximum number and what should I be looking for from each partner?

Three, including you. High intelligence and likeability.

Dear Jeremy, Is it me or has the industry lost its teeth?

It looks like it has just laid down over the junk-food advertising bans. Where has its fight gone? Wisely, it’s learned to fight only the wars it deserves to win. And there are plenty of those.

An agency managing director writes: Tricky one, this. One of my best account directors suffers from terrible halitosis. How do I broach this subject with him?

Tell him, though not in front of other people, that his breath would fell an ox.

I want to reduce the carbon footprint of my company. It’s not going to be easy, but I really believe it’s important. Is it fair to impose restrictions on staff in order to reduce emissions? (I’m thinking of withdrawing free car parking and company cars, for instance.)

Entirely fair. (What are you planning to do next?)

Dear Jeremy, Is Google going to rule the world?

No. But we need to work out how the world can rule Google.

Why did the agency chief executive cross the road?

What a silly question. To get more money.

What do you think of the name Adam & Eve for a start-up?


What is a "sur-commission" and is it better than the ordinary kind?

I haven’t the faintest idea.

Did you ever meet Rosser Reeves, and what was his fallacy?

No. Like classical economists, he believed human beings are rational.

Is advertising too white, too male and too middle-class?

For what? For sales? Or for our collective social conscience?

I have to take Campaign out to lunch but can’t choose a restaurant – any recommendations?

Pret a Manger. And Dutch.

Dear Jeremy, Was advertising really more glamorous and sexy back in the 1960s and 1970s? And, if so, do you think the industry is worse off for losing some of that magic?

Yes. Yes.

A number of the longer established creative agencies have philosophies of advertising such as ‘Truth well told’, ‘Disruption’ and ‘Brutal simplicity of thought’. Are such mantras irrelevant for the newer ‘digital’ agencies operating in the online space?

They’ve always been irrelevant.

In a recent speech, Sir Martin Sorrell suggested that in future marketing would need to be about getting people to consume less rather than more. Would he also expect future Olympians to compete to come last?


Should Lloyds TSB bring back the black horse?


What is the silliest question you have ever been asked, and by whom?

This. You. Goodbye.