Q: Our client loves us but has taken against our sister creative

agency, which handed us the media business in the first place after

winning it full service. The client has now asked us to help him find a

new creative agency behind the back of our sister shop (which is,

incidentally, very snooty about the 'grubby' business of media). Where

should our loyalties lie?

A: Cast your mind back to 1864. It was then that media agencies in the

United States of America hit on an ingenious new tactic in their battle

to keep and acquire clients. Fierce competition had pared margins to the

bone, quantity discounts had reached Green Shield levels and the

delivery of just one more bang for the same buck would have led to


So what a few of the nimble-witted ones did was offer clients an

entirely free service. Not only would they select the magazines in which

they bought space, they would also provide the words and pictures with

which that space should be filled!

The full-service agency was born - and flourished. The first creatives,

far from feeling snooty about the grubby business of media, actually

owed their existence to media and felt deeply in their debt. It is only

over the past 120 years or so that this relationship has changed. As you

will have noticed, few creatives today, as ignorant of history as they

are of business, feel any deep-seated sense of gratitude towards their

media partners.

I remind you of all this because it should give you new hope and

self-confidence. What happened once will almost certainly happen again;

indeed, there are signs that it's starting already.

So look your sister agency in the eye, tell them that your mutual client

is deeply unhappy and on the move, and offer, in both your interests, to

take over creative responsibility with immediate effect.

I cannot promise that this suggestion will improve relationships between

you and your sister agency. If you share a parent company, there will be

a good deal of sneaking off to the headmaster and complaining about your

ingratitude, incompetence and disloyalty. But the headmaster, having

investigated the facts and being keenly interested in the retention of

revenue, will certainly side with you.

It could soon be 1864 again.

PS. You must, of course, tell your client you're doing this. He'll love

you to pieces.

Q: I'm doing so much freelance work I think it's beginning to affect my

day job. Should I stop immediately or continue to catch up on my sleep

in production meetings?

A: Neither. You must contrive to get yourself promoted. It is one of the

curiosities of the agency business (and very possibly of life itself)

that the greater the distance between yourself and the workaday

manufacture of things, the more illustrious your reputation and the

bulkier your pay-packet.

You, naively, have allowed yourself to become valued for the ads you

write. In consequence, you are asked to write more and more but are

still broke. I urge you to leave such menial work to others and build

yourself a more lofty reputation.

Here are one or two tips which others have found efficacious.

Cultivate a reputation for the encouragement of young talent. If you

must still write, confine your writing to long-term vision statements.

Argue the case for new corporate culture paradigms. Learn to delegate.

Above all, master the practice of meaningful silence.

Before very long, I promise you, you'll be leaving the office at three

on a Friday and asking if anyone knows the name of a good financial


Jeremy Bullmore, former chairman of J. Walter Thompson, a director of

Guardian Media Group and of WPP, and the president of NABS. He writes a

monthly column for Management Today. A more serious look at problems in

the workplace, it both inspired and complements On the Campaign


Address your problems to him at Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Road, London

W6 7JP. Or e-mail


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