BACKBITE

An agency head told me last week that the most fascinating thing about Campaign’s Trevor Beattie why-I-quit story was not the illuminating insight into his sympathetic management style (’I worry about how everyone else is treated’) but the astonishing naivete of his outburst (’people are being told what’s going to happen to them - they’re not being asked.’ (Campaign, last week)).

An agency head told me last week that the most fascinating thing

about Campaign’s Trevor Beattie why-I-quit story was not the

illuminating insight into his sympathetic management style (’I worry

about how everyone else is treated’) but the astonishing naivete of his

outburst (’people are being told what’s going to happen to them -

they’re not being asked.’ (Campaign, last week)).



Now, far be it from me, to make enquiries as to Trevor’s naivete, or

even to speculate as to his next job (the best theories I’ve heard so

far are M&C Saatchi or a start-up - any other takers?) for the last time

I asked him the question ’Is that a perm?’ was the last time he spoke to

me and he hasn’t returned any of my calls since.



I respect anyone’s right to privacy over their haircare arrangements,

but I too find his comments naive. Agency mergers - and Trevor’s lived

through loads of them, most painfully DDB Needham fusing with BMP

Davidson Pearce - throw up opportunities and pressures and people will

employ their instinct to either a) try to stay, or b) look for a new

job, as Trevor is doing.



Before hands trembling with outrage reach for pen and venom to castigate

me for daring to criticise Mr Wonderbra, I would like to make it clear

that I too rate much of his work very highly and that I’m sure he is a

good bloke to work for. But none of this is an acceptable excuse for his

shortsighted comments.



Agencies bleat on about wanting to be seen as business partners rather

than suppliers, but they have to earn the privilege. Part of the process

of earning it is to be able, now and again, to say: ’It’s great for the

agency world that this has happened.’ And, in the case of TBWA Simons

Palmer, a strong new force however you measure it, can anyone argue

otherwise?



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