It’s all go for John Quarrey, chief executive of the D’Arcy
subsidiary, IMP London.
Not only have his responsibilities just been extended to running the
newly formed D’Arcy Marketing Services Group - designed to make a
disparate bunch of marketing communications companies around Europe feel
much more part of the D’Arcy family - but he also has to deal with the
ramifications of the just-announced merger between the D’Arcy parent,
the MacManus Group, and the advertising giant, Leo Group, owner of Leo
Burnett and half of Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
But these concerns were mere trifles when Campaign visited Quarrey last
week. He’d just become a father, leaving him tired but starry-eyed and
discovering, at 35, a new perspective on life. This is a man, remember,
who has spent almost his entire career at IMP, where he started in 1987
as an account executive, and once listed his passions as IMP, Arsenal,
Twickenham and ’going out’. He was also a regular recipient of the ’most
fanciable bloke’ award at IMP.
Quarrey’s new serenity is, dare one say it, slightly exasperating, but
he does make some interesting points about the D’Arcy/IMP double-act and
his new hands-on role driving European growth.
He claims the move to bring the mainly below-the-line operations dotted
around the Continent into a closer orbit around the London headquarters
was a natural progression from the early-90s decision to bring IMP and
D’Arcy - then DMB&B - under the same roof.
’IMP used to have a very poor relationship with DMB&B: it was always
slightly adversarial. There was concern about who was going to take
responsibility for decision making, where budgets were going, and so on.
When we came into the same building we’d already started trying to put
that right, and being able to walk up a flight of stairs to chat with
the old enemy, or to go to the same bars, made a huge difference.’
Barry Cook, the managing director of D’Arcy UK and Quarrey’s ’other
half’ at the office, sees Quarrey as fairly radical in his views and his
approach to below the line. ’He’s creative in the broadest sense, not
ploughing any particular furrow.’
A former IMP colleague, Chris Satter-thwaite, now at HHCL & Partners,
also admires Quarrey’s unconventional side. ’John is not afraid to
challenge existing ways of thinking. It’s what makes him so valuable to
clients and colleagues alike.’
Quarrey claims his masterplan for the new D’Arcy Marketing Services
Group is ’very simple: to establish the multi-disciplined idea
throughout Europe and build an agency network around that, recognising
that different markets are at different stages of development.’ This
means that an agency in, say, Poland won’t be the same as one in London
or Spain. ’We want to take a very flexible view of our interests in
Europe, and not try to stamp the IMP London identity on them from day
one,’ Quarrey says.
He’s less interested in micro-management than in building the same kind
of team spirit throughout the network as now exists between IMP London
and D’Arcy UK.
Quarrey says: ’I want to build a coherent network so that clients can
walk into a D’Arcy subsidiary in Barcelona, Paris or wherever and feel
they’re in the same agency but with local differences. Every agency will
have the same level of service, the same focus on creativity, etc. The
biggest barriers I’ve found talking to clients are the massive
inconsistencies that exist within any network - which is inevitable the
bigger you get.
’I’d rather have fewer offices, but ones that are really, really good,
than to go around sticking pins in a map and saying, ’we must have an
The focus is on France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK for both the
IMP and Interactive divisions. Declaring his goal by the end of 2000,
Quarrey states: ’We have to be in a strong position in both categories.
That doesn’t sound like an enormous challenge, but it will be a big
commitment getting them up and running.’