Q: What's happened to decent client entertainment? My agency only
seems to focus on sound strategic thinking and original creativity, and
never comes up with tickets to the opera or a major sporting event. I
know it's not PC to admit it but I do need to be schmoozed. Do I have
any choice but to call a review?
A: I wonder if you'd let me know the name of your current agency? I can
think of one or two clients - misguided old reactionaries, obviously -
who are still longing to find an agency that concentrates exclusively on
sound strategic thinking and original creative work.
That having been said, it's a pity that quality work and quality
schmoozing have come to be seen as mutually exclusive. Being a client is
such an unenviable job that you have every reason to hope for both.
So don't call a review: just invest a fraction of your budget in a bit
of creative pump-priming. Astonish your agency by inviting them to
And I do mean things, in the plural: to the opera, to Wimbledon, to that
new lap-dancing club, to Battersea Arts Centre - all in the space of
three weeks. Then stop.
Reciprocation is guaranteed. When the return invitations flood in, make
your appreciation clear: write thank-you letters after every extravagant
excursion. If, after a year or so, the flood turns to a trickle, you may
need to prime the pump again: but (as you may wish to tell your
financial director) your ROI will still be at the very high end of the
Q: I'm the worldwide CEO of an international agency group and I've had
to appoint the creative director of one of our offices to the position
of chairman. I have no doubt that this represents an excellent move and
all seems to be well. He is charismatic, talented and highly respected
by his peers. I have only one problem: his hair. It's long, unruly and,
most worryingly, it's possibly a perm. In short, it's not very
How best can I raise the issue of a haircut without earning his
A: You seem to have stumbled on a formula here that your competitors
must envy. Far from raising the matter with your new chairman, you
should contact all senior personnel worldwide instructing them to grow
their hair into long and unruly ringlets forthwith. Build this condition
into their terms of employment and long-term incentive plans. Set an
example yourself. You may not all become talented, charismatic and
highly respected but at least your new chairman will no longer seem
unusual. (For this very reason, of course, he'll probably adopt a
Q: Paul Smith, the regional creative director of Ogilvy & Mather,
writes: I'd like to ask a question of etiquette. I have served on many
domestic awards juries and have left the judging with no more than a
thank you, but since my elevation to an international role I have been
asked to judge international awards. The nub of the problem is that at
the end of the judging as a sign of organiser appreciation, the judges
are presented with anything from a four-foot bronze statue weighing a
little over 200 pounds to an impressive silver model of the Empire State
Building, which appeared to be only inches shorter than the real thing.
What is the politest way to reject these gifts?
A: Dear Paul, thank you for your kind enquiry. This is what you must do.
When next presented with a four-foot bronze statue, express unfathomable
gratitude. Go on to say that your pleasure in life is to put something
back into the industry that has given you so much. Ask that the
organisers forward your statue to the International Advertising
Association. Stress that the gift must remain strictly anonymous. You
will simultaneously reduce your excess baggage charges and greatly
enhance your reputation for philanthropy.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.