Perhaps Andrew Cracknell, who says he plans to learn jazz piano
when he steps down as the Ammirati Puris Lintas chairman in London,
might want to practise a number from Erroll Garner’s classic 1957 album,
Concert by the Sea. The tune is called How Could You do a Thing Like
That to me?
It’s a question he must be asking of APL’s bosses whose polite PR-speak
can’t disguise a determination to ring the changes in the UK agency.
True, there’s the attractive prospect of baling out with a second golden
parachute in less than four years to soften his landing. Yet Cracknell
will doubtless feel he is leaving after a career which seems to have
been bedevilled by circumstances conspiring to prevent him seeing jobs
through to a fulfilling conclusion.
In March 1987 he was ousted by WCRS, reportedly because of the
suffocating influence of its creative founders, Robin Wight, Ron Collins
and Andrew Rutherford. Eight years later he might have been chairman of
Bates Dorland had he not fallen victim to network politics after
masterminding the agency’s creative awakening.
That he never seems to have achieved the recognition he believes is due
may be for a combination of reasons. His intellect and wry wit can seem
like arrogance and vanity, and some clients acknowledge Cracknell has
never been easy to deal with.
What’s more, making his mark on Dorlands’ largely UK client list was
always going to be easier than with the globally aligned advertisers who
are the backbone of the Lintas portfolio.
That said, Cracknell approaches his 52nd birthday with a wealth of
knowledge and experience to give the industry should he still wish to
He shouldn’t be tickling the ivories for too long.