Forget the upcoming scrap between Dobbo, Cuddly Ken and Shagger
Norris. On 4 May a much more intriguing contest will be taking place in
an affluent part of leafy Surrey. In the Chipstead Hooley and
Woodmansterne ward of Reigate and Banstead Council to be precise.
For it is here that Philip Circus, the IPA’s former legal affairs
director turned marketing law consultant, is the prospective Tory
Losing this seat would require superhuman effort on Circus’s part.
Equally certain is that the incoming councillor will spark some robust
debate in the chamber.
Always the blunt-speaking maverick with a penchant for publicity, Circus
never endeared himself to the ad industry’s trade establishment. Last
year he had the great and the good at Belgrave Square spluttering into
their coffee by claiming that the IPA had ’lost its way’. In 1996, when
the Advertising Standards Authority was everybody’s whipping boy, he
administered a crack or two of his own by going on radio and TV to
accuse the ASA of showing an increased lack of accountability.
All this went down like a cup of cold sick with John Hooper,
director-general of ISBA, the advertisers’ trade body, who has always
regarded Circus as a loose cannon. To say the pair - fellow members of
the rule-making Committee of Advertising Practice - don’t see eye to eye
is putting it mildly.
So Hooper, who lives a mere ten-minute drive from his sparring partner
in the Reigate North ward, will no doubt be delighted to learn that
Circus may soon be one of his elected representatives.
Circus, who hopes to join the council’s planning committee, has been
telling friends that he can’t wait for Hooper to ask for permission to
build a conservatory.