Close Up: Perspective - As Channel 5 gets ready to launch, it needs lots of luck

So little space, so much to say. We have to pay tribute to two wins. First, Saatchi and Saatchi scooping Delta Air Lines worldwide - the best thing to have happened to Saatchis since the Maurice debacle. It’s a genuine cause for celebration after all the flim-flam about Laing Henry’s billings.

So little space, so much to say. We have to pay tribute to two

wins. First, Saatchi and Saatchi scooping Delta Air Lines worldwide -

the best thing to have happened to Saatchis since the Maurice debacle.

It’s a genuine cause for celebration after all the flim-flam about Laing

Henry’s billings.



It will be particularly satisfying in that it was a trans-Atlantic team

effort.



The other coup is McCann-Erickson landing the UK Esso business. Cynics

believe this appointment was a foregone conclusion, given that McCanns

has Esso around the world. However, there were some within McCanns who

doubted whether the agency should even pitch in the first place, such

was the residual tension between the client and the UK agency resulting

from their 1991 split. Unfortunately, there is some internal trauma at

McCanns at present, but there is no doubting the ability of its managing

director, Ben Langdon, to win business. All this makes McCanns an agency

to watch - and when could we last say that?



Cue pithy link with Channel 5 - except I can’t think of one. It is, of

course, the event of the week. Advertisers have asked for it for years,

so I trust they will support it. Whether any of us will actually see it

is, of course, still in the lap of the gods and the ’local’

transmitter.



I can’t believe that it’s the week of the launch and I haven’t received

one piece of communication telling me (a) I need to twiddle my own knob

to get it, let alone (b) how to do that. Why did my video retuner refuse

to do it, when the one who did my mum’s machine obliged happily? What

did he mean ’I only need to get your signature, mate’? I’ve said it

before, but consumers do not have enough basic information. We know

Kirsty Young will read the news but we don’t know how to see her doing

it, or that it won’t cost us anything to do so.



I really hope Channel 5 works, and not just because you’ll be able to

see various Campaign staffers talking about advertising most mornings on

the breakfast show. A different, less politics-centred approach to news

is particularly welcome, as is the nightly uninterrupted film, and some

of the stunt programming. Good luck to the soap and Jack Docherty,

though - they’ll no doubt need it.



So will the dream team behind the scenes because, inevitably, there will

be some huge cock-ups and flops, and a head will probably roll. It won’t

be David Elstein’s - he joined the party late and he’s too clever

anyway; David Brook will say that he can only market what he’s got;

ditto Nick Milligan in sales unless, of course, it’s a huge early

success. No, the person I wish the best of all luck to is the

indomitable Dawn Airey, the programme controller. And I hear Kelvin

MacKenzie wishes her every success too!