Close-Up: 24 hours with ... Andrew Melsom, Agency Insight

Name: Andrew Melsom

Job: Senior partner, Agency Insight

Professional mission: To help clients achieve their business objectives

through the best using and choosing of agencies

Professional mantra: Never assume

8.00am Power breakfast. An agency would like to know why it keeps losing pitches. I explain that pitching is not a science. The reason will be different on each occasion and they will win again soon. 9.00am Write a book. I am writing a book for Diageo about how to get more effective creative work from the briefing process.

11.00am Secret squirrel. A food client is very unhappy with its agency and doesn't know if it should go to pitch. I ask what the problem is. They ask how long have I got? One of their marketers wants to leave and have nothing to do with agencies ever again; no-one likes the work; the agency's management keeps changing as does the account team; the agency cannot crack a new campaign; the air date is looming, and the competition is growing at their expense. I suggest there could be a case for a review.

12.30pm A meeting with an agency and Oxfam. Oxfam is made up of people who are professional marketers but have a caring DNA running right through them. The agency shows some powerful work. I am merely impressed, but some of the clients break down and cry.

2.00pm Give talk on procurement. I am asked to speak to 100 chief finance officers about my take on procurement and what it really means. I say that, after a lot of thought, I think it means "more for less". I tell the story of the procurer who only wanted to buy good ideas from an agency and wanted to know how much a good idea cost. The answer - a good idea costs the same as a bad one.

4.00pm Talk to Garry Lace. I ask him who wrote the e-mail. He explains the whole thing in detail and I still can't work it out. But he tells me some of his ideas and one of them is brilliant. When he says: "Look, I've got this really great idea ..." I think of Michael Caine in the closing scene of The Italian Job.

7.00pm Get home and the phone rings. Our son has decided to go to the University of Hawaii in the summer because he has heard that there are lots of girls there and he can add the "credits" to his existing university course. He will be looking for work in the winter months to earn the cost of the trip. I shall be thinking of ways to go and join him.


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