Tears of relief flowed last night as one of adland's most vicious
rows came to a close. Peter Souter and the man he had referred to as
Larry "Ample Arse" Barker finally brought their nine-month bitchfest to
a close in a joint pre-Christmas statement.
The row had been voted number one in Campaign's list of adland strops
"Think Neville Chamberlain; think Gordon and Tony; think ... er ...
Trimble and Adams," a delighted Souter gushed. "It's no exaggeration to
say that this is a significant moment for peace, as significant as our
Guinness 'surfer' ad being voted better than anything my new friends at
BMP or my best pal Larry has ever done. And I mean that in a friendly,
"The white doves of peace have flown," a clearly emotional Barker said,
"and they haven't shat on anybody yet."
The row between Souter and Barker, the creative directors of the Omnicom
siblings Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and BMP DDB, had threatened a civil
It broke out in March after Barker described an AMV ad for BTinternet
as: "Old pants; cheap; You've Been Framed without the laughs; based on a
premise as old as it is misguided; and cast with serial killer and child
molester lookalikes." Souter hit back with a memo casting doubt on
Barker's creative judgment and "non-existent" people skills.
John Wren, the non-interventionist chief executive of Omnicom,
intervened as fears rose that the spat would damage Omnicom's share
price and thus jeopardise his enormous package.
Wren said: "Jeez, there was never any row. When Peter called Larry
'Ample Arse' he meant he was a man of substance and solidity, a man
whose arse meant he could, er, fly creatively by the seat of his pants -
which is a good thing, right? When Larry called Peter a 'whinging prick'
he was being complimentary in an ironic way. He meant that Peter was a
'winning prick' and Peter's penis was a metaphor for his creative track
record ... well, that's what I've been told."
Strop fans concerned that legendary hissy fitters such as Lowe Lintas'
boss, Frank Lowe, and the former Saatchi & Saatchi chairwoman, Tamara
Ingram, were losing their touch, be reassured. Both feature this year,
joined by Express Newspapers' ad director, Stan Myerson, fast gaining a
reputation as the Stroppiest Man in All Media.
- Best strops of the year, p45.