Q: Have you any suggestions for New Year resolutions for

advertising people?

Here are a few random thoughts.

- Mend your language. Marketing-speak is ugly, inefficient and brings

our trade into even greater disrepute than it deserves. And now that

it's been hijacked by information officers and political advisers, we

find ourselves in scrubby company. Try writing your next marketing

recommendation in English.

- If clarity of expression exposes your vacuity of thought, think


- Ration yourself to just ten words per PowerPoint slide.

- Ration yourself to just one use of the phrase "in terms of" for each

PowerPoint presentation: then try to kick the habit altogether.

- Shut up and listen. Do not delude yourself that you're listening just

because you're not talking. At the end of every client meeting, write

down the three most significant things the client didn't say.

- Read your clients' trade press.

- Your staff are far too like each other and you only hire people from

other agencies. Introduce diversity. Your next three account handlers

should be: one with a first in physics; one a lapsed Benedictine monk;

and one the girl who managed that successful Indonesian tour of

Bartholomew's Flea Circus.

- Bring back the copy test: you might just find some writers who can


- Keep a running total of new-business gains and conceded losses a) as

experienced and b) as presented in your press releases.

Ensure that organic growth can credibly account for at least part of any

resultant discrepancy.

- Resist the temptation to issue an over-art-directed corporate vision

statement entitled The End of Advertising.

- Resist the temptation to feature in a Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall

documentary about advertising.

- Don't just rage inwardly about the agency that recently filched your

most cherished account: recommend Channel 4 to feature it in a

fly-on-the-wall documentary about advertising.

- Sharply reduce your severance costs by ensuring that all personnel

surplus to requirements are featured in Faces to Watch.

- If this ploy fails, publicly deny that they were responsible for your

only distinguished advertising campaign.

- Write down a list of 20 very silly names and register them in the

advertising agency category. Before the year is out, you will be offered

a great deal of money for at least two of them.

- Whenever you feel the urge to write an all-staff e-mail celebrating

your agency's unique and proprietary ability to end global terrorism,

call your medical adviser immediately.

- Since it's already nearly February, please feel free to hold these

resolutions over until next year. Or indeed, the year after.

Q: Cheeky, I know - but have you made any resolutions yourself and what

are they?

- I plan to discover the meaning of life.

- If I fail in that endeavour, I plan to discover the meaning of pushing

the envelope, breaking the mould, and going pear-shaped. I plan to

uncover the essential difference between a start and a kick-start; a

record and a track-record; a change and a step-change.

- I shall find out what a rating point is, and why it is considered


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

director of Guardian Media Group and a director of WPP. He also writes a

monthly column for Management Today. A compilation of his business

advice, Another Bad Day at the Office?, is published by Penguin, priced

£5.99. Address your problems to him at, or

Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Rd, London W6 7JP.


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