You've got to hand it to him - Johnny Hornby, the managing director
of Clemmow Hornby Inge, simply doesn't accept no for an answer, if the
gargantuan charm offensive he launched in a strategically orchestrated
bid to get on to The Observer's pitchlist is anything to go by.
Yes, the resourceful Hornby rolled up his sleeves and set to work
exploring every possible angle to get a word in the ear of The
Observer's marketing director, Marc Sands. His first stop was Sands'
ex-girlfriend - and, by happy coincidence, Hornby's brother's current
squeeze. However, she refused point blank. "She thought that it would be
in bad taste," "Rhino Hide" Hornby said, undeterred.
Although brutally rebuffed, Hornby charged on. His next port of call was
his mate and fellow Arsenal season ticket holder, Matt Tench (who just
happens to be the editor of Observer Sport Monthly). Tench was charged
with convincing Sands to put CHI on the list, flexing his superior
editorial muscles if necessary. Also, Tench should threaten to resign if
CHI was not included - a small price to pay for a fellow Gooner.
While meeker souls might have read the warning signs from the deafening
silence that greeted Tench's efforts, Hornby soldiered on, next drafting
in none other than his friend, the Hartlepool MP Peter Mandelson. The
next assault on Sands' inbox came in the form of an e-mail from Mandy
stating grandly that, if it hadn't been for Johnny's work, William Hague
would be the prime minister.
Surely that would do the trick? But no. So Hornby turned to his chum
Garry Lace, the chief executive of TBWA/London, who duly fired off the
requisite e-mail reminding the doubtless bewildered Sands that, while
TBWA was the finest agency in town, CHI was the second-best shop; ergo,
it would be a grave mistake not to have it on any pitchlist.
Still the phone refused to ring. But Hornby had one more ace up his
sleeve -David Dein, the vice-chairman of Arsenal FC, who Hornby asked to
send an e-mail saying: "If you don't put CHI on the pitch, we're taking
your season ticket." Yikes!
Is there no end to this man's audacity? Alas, hounding Hornby's calls on
his cronies have not procured the desired goods. "I haven't had any
response," Hornby admits. We also hear that Sands, with the tone of the
hunted, has sent an e-mail pleading to be left alone. You can't blame a
man for trying, though.