DIARY: Saatchis man wins the ultimate power, sort of

Each year, Saatchi & Saatchi runs a competition called Greatest Imaginable Challenge. You might think it's a contest to get some decent work out, but you would be wrong. Neither is it an attempt to stop the outgoing chief executive, James Hall, from being politically incorrect.

In fact, it's actually a staff morale-boosting idea. Anyone in the agency can submit a request to do something they've always dreamed of. The winning applicant will have his or her dream come true, with Saatchis footing the bill.

The mind boggles at the thought of opportunities to do fantastic things such as tag turtles in the Galapagos Islands or seek enlightenment in a Tibetan monastery. But this year's winner, Richard Canterbury, decided he wanted to keep it shallow. His burning ambition, harboured since childhood, was to "get people to do whatever I want". Obviously an account man.

To give him his dream, Saatchis brought in salesman extraordinaire Dominic Littlewood (the wily former car salesman star of the BBC's Wrong Car Right Car and Channel 4's Faking It). Littlewood put the Saatchis account man through a "two-day masterclass" on how to sell cars, complete with on-site training. Next month, he has to put theory into practice and actually go out and use his skills on a car lot.

Perhaps his new powers of persuasion might enable him to get P&G to commission some good work after all.


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