CLOSE-UP: NEWSMAKERS - OLLY CAPORN AND DOM GETTINS. Slow and steady wins the Euro RSCG creative race

The agency has picked the safe route with Caporn and Gettins.

Olly Caporn and Dom Gettins, Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper's new creative directors, are likening their department to a football team such as Manchester United. Not because its members are more likely to be kicking a ball around than wielding a pen, but because it has tapped a steady stream of homegrown talent.

Caporn and Gettins are fine examples of this - they both joined the agency almost ten years ago, and have worked closely with the executive creative director and chairman, Mark Wnek, since he arrived at the newly consolidated Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper in the mid-90s.

"We can only be advocates of internal growth," Caporn says. "If you work hard, the meritocracy which exists under Mark kicks in."

Wnek claims the two are expert problem-solvers, and this, coupled with their staying power and an ability to get on with those they're managing, makes them ideal for sharing the creative directorship at the agency.

"This is the duo behind our Abbey National and Argos campaigns - two of the hardest-working campaigns in our stable - and they are experts in making those two brands work," Wnek says.

Their appointment cements a new positioning for Euro RSCG. The agency appears to have given up on flashy, award-winning creative directors, and instead is focusing on those responsible for hard-working campaigns for serious clients. The headline-grabbing Joakim Jonason, Andy McKay and Paul Shearer - all former creative directors at the agency - are being replaced with long-standing, low-profile, internal candidates.

Although they are respected within the creative community, and within their own agency, there's still a way to go for Gettins and Caporn - both in terms of their profile and before they are ready to take over from Wnek.

Caporn joined in 1993 and Gettins in 1994 - so far, awards have eluded them. Wnek is convinced this is an irrelevance in terms of the talent required to juggle a busy department full of high-maintenance retail accounts, but concedes that the two will need to impress their peers on their creative talents as much as they have him.

"The agency has never had a particularly creative history, and I think they will want to help change that. There's really only one thing left for them to achieve, and that is for them to create a seminal piece of work," Wnek says. "I'm keen that they don't enjoy the management side so much that they don't produce the creative gem I know they're capable of."

Gettins and Caporn are also well-aware of the need to put themselves on the map in order to boost their, and the agency's, creative clout, although they are proud of its rightful reputation as hard-working and "businesslike". However, they are confident that this can be done. "Look at Leo Burnett - an agency which has seen a creative revival recently. It can be done with one stonking piece of work. For us, every brief is an opportunity," Caporn says.

Although the duo are unlikely to be winning any major creative awards for their work on Argos, its head of brand marketing, Helen Page, thinks it is "fabulous" news that the two have been promoted. "Dom and Olly work seamlessly together when needed, and brilliantly as independent entities - they're the best creatives I've ever worked with. It's significant, both for them and for Euro RSCG, that they have chosen to stay for the heyday of their careers."

Page should know - she worked with the pair while at Abbey National, and then chose to open the Argos account up for pitch once she moved to the retailer. Her decision to stick with Euro RSCG testifies to her belief in the agency, and in Caporn and Gettins.

Gettins and Caporn have, in fact, already been doing much of the administrative work - which most creative directors dread - with some gusto, according to Wnek. "They have been my right-hand men for some time, and with the business we have added this year, it's time to formalise the situation."

With the signs pointing to Wnek taking a group or global role within the Euro RSCG network in the future, it seems equally likely that Gettins and Caporn will naturally succeed him as London's executive creative directors.

Gettins says they will play more of a role in hiring and firing, and continue to manage the 12-team-strong creative department. Colleagues say they approach this with the patience and determination of school-teachers.

They've had creative sign-off on a number of projects for some time, and as Wnek spends more time involved with network issues, this looks set to continue.

While Gettins and Caporn have practical changes up their sleeves, they are in no hurry to stamp their mark on the department. "We have got some things we want to change - such as having more, and more formal, creative reviews throughout the team - but we don't feel under any pressure. I think we've earned our position, so there's no real need to shout about it internally," Caporn says.

The logic behind the appointment is clear: they have proved their ability to deliver strong work for big clients, as well as their ability to work in partnership with Wnek.


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