Diary: IDS tells jokers to bung it in commission furore

As well as making agency broadcast directors paranoid about any conspicuous displays of wealth or investing in expensive new home improvements, the news that Telewest is investigating the payment of commissions to media agencies by its UK sales division, IDS, could not have come at a more uncomfortable time for the sales house.

IDS was no doubt planning to enter the negotiation round in bullish mood, thanks to the strong audience performance of its channels during 2004.

Not now, though. The mood is rather less joyful as investigations continue into alleged bungs to media agencies in exchange for increased share of client budgets.

So you would have thought that any attempt to lighten the prevailing gloom at IDS would have been gratefully received.

Unfortunately, it seems that this was not the case, as one rib-tickling rival TV sales director found out. He thought it would be a good gag to despatch a courier with a package containing a sheaf of brown envelopes to his IDS rival.

IDS failed to see the funny side of the prank, however, and allegedly threatened to contact its lawyers. Legal action failed to materialise, presumably because IDS realised it would be skating on very thin ice if it tried to take the moral high ground.