It really doesn’t pay to stick your neck above the parapet in this
frighteningly conservative business, does it? I’ve written before that,
by and large, this is a pretty decent industry to work in - even deadly
enemies will help each other out when the going gets really tough. It’s
all because deep down, most people play the same game, and even those
who rock the boat usually do so within the established parameters. But,
dare to step outside those parameters, and my, the worm turns. Hence the
opprobrium heaped on the heads of the likes of Adam Lury, John Farrell,
Kevin Morley (although in his case much of it was excessively personal)
and Paul Twivy.
Twivy’s case is the most curious in that he is the least blatant
iconoclast of those mentioned above. Furthermore, he has had a good deal
of success wherever he’s been: the meteoric flourish of Still Price
Court Twivy D’Souza, the steady progress of Still Price Lintas, major
growth at J. Walter Thompson, which was completely overshadowed by the
power struggle he lost, and now a fine performance at Bates Dorland,
which began with the Compaq win, saw him try to hold together the agency
after the Mars loss (which had nothing to do with him) and then go on to
win Royal Mail, the biggest victory in Dorlands’ history, and beat off
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO to the combined Halifax/Leeds prize. The
creative work appears safe in the hands of Tim Ashton, a Twivy
appointment. And now there is the very sensible installation of a chief
executive and managing director to share the load.
But there is a more sceptical view to be taken of last week’s news about
Graham Hinton and Chris Clark (Campaign, 26 January). On the surface,
criticism of the move seems bizarre. The best big agencies in town -
AMV, BMP DDB Needham, Saatchi and Saatchi, Lowe Howard-Spink and JWT -
have all shared one characteristic during their times of success: a
spread of senior (not necessarily old) management talent across all
disciplines. Look at AMV’s current line-up.
The reason that people will still be cynical, of course, is that it
appears to be part of Twivy’s make-up that he really needs that top job.
Described, even by senior JWT bosses, as ‘the brightest advertising
brain since Stephen King’, Twivy, like M. T. Rainey, is not content with
merely being at the top of one particular tree. Perhaps it will be his
The other reason for cynicism is the motive of the Bates worldwide
chairman, Michael Bungey. With Hinton and Clarke in place, he’s in a no-
lose situation. If things don’t work out with Twivy, he has a ready-made
management team in place. And, with luck, things will work out. Dorlands
will not be a dull place in the coming months. The only safe bet is that
Twivy will not be Mr Universally Popular.