THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Best Nicknames

1. BEN LANGDON, regional director for Europe and the Middle East, McCann-Erickson - aka Osama bin Langdon

OK, OK, we know it's an obvious one. But, well, when the cap fits ... The fiery-tempered and tear-inducing Langdon has been striking fear into many of adland's hearts ever since he started in the business, just as his rather more dangerous Saudi moniker has done throughout the Western world this year. Rumours of a cave hideaway somewhere just off McCann's Russell Square offices remain unfounded, and sources say bin Langdon has done little to dissuade the use of this slightly less-than-flattering nickname.

2. MAURICE LEVY, chairman, Publicis Groupe - aka Le Grand Fromage

Levy's pet name rather speaks for itself. This year has been an eventful one for the distinguee Frenchman, what with the purchase of Bcom3 and the axing of the D'Arcy brand.

3. GARRY LACE, chief executive, Grey Worldwide - aka The Ribena Man

Lace's penchant for lurid purple ties and shirts, coupled with his sturdy frame, has made him a dead ringer for one of the cute animated berries, according to former colleagues at TBWA. How apt that he should now be running Grey, which works on the Glaxo SmithKline brand. Lace, who also favours a lime green ensemble, has also been likened to Mike Wazowski, the curious boggle-eyed green thingy in the Disney film Monsters, Inc. We have no idea why.

4. NICK HURRELL, joint chief executive, M&C Saatchi - aka Postman Pat and The Milkybar Kid

In typical lavish M&C Saatchi style, one of anything is never enough, and Hurrell has a choice of nicknames, both reflecting his likeness to both the above characters.

5. MURDOCH MCLENNAN, group managing director, Associated Newspapers - aka McGifted

The newspaperman earned his nickname spurs when he took the Daily Mail columnist Peter McKay and Metro's managing director, Mike Anderson, out to a lavish lunch, complete with a chauffeur-driven limo. He then cocked up spectacularly by presenting each with a Mont Blanc pen, taken unwittingly from a pile of Metro-branded freebies.

6. MIKE GREENLEES, founding partner of GGT - aka Legsy

This unlikely name was said to originate back in his BMP days when Greenlees, the founder of GGT, received a number of letters addressed to a mysterious, but popular, Mr Mike Greenlegs.

7. SIMON BOLTON, chief executive, J. Walter Thompson - aka Michael Bolton and the Hobbit

When the short stocky one arrived on the London ad scene, Campaign was delighted to see that he'd fully embraced American culture during his tenure at FCB in San Francisco, even to the extent of growing a small ponytail.

8. PAUL SIMONS, former chief executive, Ogilvy & Mather, now running his own agency called Passion - aka Swiss Toni

Paul Simons' talent for smooth-talking self-promotion is as legendary as the hefty sum he allegedly trousered after selling Simons Palmer, and his silver-haired bouffant goes a long way to ensure the sex-mad car salesman of Fast Show fame is the ideal alter-ego.

9. MARY O'TEA, tea lady extraordinaire, BMP DDB

BMP tea ladies have always been a legend in their own, er, tea-break. Pat McLaughlan, who ran the trolley in the 80s, was an assiduous buyer of shares before the agency went public. When it did, in 1983, they were worth £13,700. The current BMP tea supremo, Mary O'Tea (really), was a member of Campaign's 30-year fantasy agency. No list of nicknames would be complete without Mary, a BMP stalwart for more than 20 years. In charge of the second-floor kitchen, and arguably the floor's entire creative department, O'Tea rumbles through the agency with her trolley, dispensing biscuits, tea and wisdom.


Simply suffix your name with "ie" or "y" and medja camaraderie is yours. Just look at Graham Duff at Granada Enterprises, Nick Milligan at Five and Steve Platt at Carlton. Duffy, Millie and Platty are such imaginative, catchy names, aren't they?


Become a member of Campaign

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a member

What is Campaign AI?

Our new premium service offering bespoke monitoring reports for your company.

Find out more

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content