Q: I work my heart out to put my agency on the map. Unfortunately,

my brother, an equal partner, does not. He's far too 'busy' swanning

around so-called art galleries and getting me bad press with the News of

the World's anti-kiddie porn brigade. What can I do to make him pull his

weight? PS: I'd be very much obliged if you could maintain my


A: I find the predicament you describe an improbable one and remote from

anything I've encountered in real life. However, in the unlikely event

that this is a real problem, this is what you should do.

First, discard all thought of making your brother pull his weight.

People who enjoy swanning around so-called art galleries are never going

to pull their weight. Instead, you must aim to put clear blue water

between your brother and your agency.

You will, of course, have considered changing the name of your agency or

alternatively requesting your brother to change his; and I can well

understand why this came to nothing. I also assume that the name in

question is a distinctive one? Had you been called Smith, for example,

you would not have felt the need to write to me. So you are left with

only one course of action: the deliberate creation of maximum


Leave your agency and start another one, ensuring that both your old

agency and your new one share the same name. Then do it again. And if

necessary again. Aim high: think Delaney. There are so many agencies

called Delaney that no amount of scurrilous innuendo in the News of the

World could possible damage any one of them.

Should this plan prove impractical, make a massive contribution to a

political party, acquire a peerage, and embark on a career in


PS: How many of your potential clients read the News of the World


Q: Brett Gosper writes: We are a six-year-young agency with a strong

culture and our own way of maximising the probability of success on our

clients' businesses. We have never felt the need to bore our clients and

prospects with a 'Positioning' or 'Mission Statement' as prevalent in

the traditional American network. Are we missing a trick?

A: Dear Brett, thank you for your kind enquiry. It is commonly believed

that, when clients first agree on a shortlist and then conduct a beauty

parade, they are looking for the perfect agency. They are not. Being a

committee, they are seeking objective reasons for eliminating the

candidates, one by one, until only the eventual winner is left. So it is

that Agency A is bumped for its failure to have an office in Kuala

Lumpur and Agency B because its Reykjavic associate handles a

competitor. Any such fact is greedily seized upon: it makes

consensus-style decision-making so very much easier.

So, yes: I'm afraid you should have a Mission Statement. Spend no more

than ten minutes writing it. Have it set professionally in a

well-branded booklet, send one copy to the AAR and keep another in a

filing cabinet somewhere. (Under no circumstances allow your planning

and creative departments to know that it exists: any such respect as you

might now enjoy would be swiftly dissipated.)

Some day soon, you will be asked by an important prospect if you have


Remembering only to blow the dust off first, you can hand it to him


And if he can't find another reason to eliminate you, you might well end

up with the business; in which case, I shall expect a small glass of dry

white wine.

Jeremy Bullmore is a 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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