Some clients love to party the night away, while others prefer a meal. Three new-business directors and clients give their tips for converting someone else's client into your own.

AMSTERDAM: 'It's not about where you're seen'

The new-business director Alex Melvin, founder/partner, 180 Communications

"For an entertaining night out, the Amsterdam way, I take foreign clients on a canal cruise, then to a bar for a 'Boswandeling' (including jenever, a Dutch gin), a shoarma (a kebab-like sandwich), a tour of the red light district, and a stop-off at a coffee shop.

"It's usually first-time visitors who want to experience these Amsterdam delights. Living here, you get bored with it very easily. That's when I move on to my 'inside-Amsterdam' programme, which involves nice restaurants, such as Lof. Afterwards, it's off to Bep or Diep, two cafes that are both very popular with people in the industry.

"There is always something interesting going on. It's constantly changing, far more than London. Here it's not about where you are seen."

THE CLIENT - Jason Dawes, soon to head Naked's Amsterdam office

"There's no lunch culture here, just a 'broodje kaas' (a tasty cheese sandwich) onslaught. If we were to ever indulge in a 'no show' afternoon, it would probably end up in one of the decent Irish bars here, such as O'Reilly's or The Tara, both near Dam Square. Not very original, but realistic.

"Fortunately, most of the corporate hospitality invites I get involve travel somewhere, as Holland is not known for its golf and skiing credentials.

"For the Dutch contingent, in general, I would say that anything expensive, but not involving personal outlay in any way, would be gratefully accepted. Should this not be an option, a course of 12 intensive sunbed sessions would probably do!"

Interviews by Robert Heeg

LONDON: 'Make an effort'

The new-business director Nicola Mendelsohn, new-business director, Grey

"Just as you scrutinise the brand, you should make an effort with the person who runs it. If I know a client loves celeb-spotting, or eating in a quieter restaurant, I'll suggest that. My current favourites are Hakkasan and Hush. Villandry is my Soho House alternative.

"After-dinner entertainment is easy to get wrong. It's no good taking them to the opera if they're not interested. A girly lunch with Vogue, when invitees received a goody-bag of cosmetics, was a winner. My new- business coup, though, came at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, when I sent 400 Flat Eric toys out to top clients. The response was incredible."

THE CLIENT - Andy Valentine, general manager for marketing, Burton's Biscuits

"Saatchi & Saatchi won our business through an unsolicited approach, where they showed us some great creative and strategic thinking. It would take a thunderbolt to get me to look elsewhere.

"I'm not sure how clever it is to be living the high life in times like these, but I do reward the team with a good night out every now and again.

"In terms of corporate hospitality, my idea of heaven would be to see the Reds play at Old Trafford."

Interviews by Camilla Palmer

PARIS: 'Obvious schmoozing is frowned upon'

The new-business director Claus Lindorff, director of international client services, BETC Euro RSCG

"Our offices (60s-style minimalist with a rooftop view over Paris) are probably our most effective means of impressing potential clients. Paris is different from London, and obvious schmoozing is frowned upon. For lunch, we would probably organise something at the agency. For dinner I'd choose Georges, the restaurant at the top of the Centre Georges Pompidou.

It has a view over Paris that almost rivals our own. My favourite spot for a late-night drink is the Matisse Bar in the 8th arrondissement. It looks like a 19th century brothel and you get an insane mixture of characters there, from the bizarre to the famous.

"French don't really go in for corporate hospitality, but it would never be the Lido or the Moulin Rouge - far too tacky. At the agency we have a big space on the ground floor where we hold fashion shows and exhibitions of art and photography."

THE CLIENT - Daniel Payan, group communications director, ElcoBrandt

"A team that parachuted into the meeting wouldn't impress me. We look for an agency that understands our needs, has the resources to devise a pertinent and creative campaign - and most importantly, has people we can get along with.

"We're fortunate in France in that the pleasures of la table are often linked with doing business. As for nightclubs - no, thank you.

"Media people are a fickle bunch, so it changes all the time. There are popular areas, though, such as (upmarket suburbs) Boulogne and Neuilly.

"When agencies and clients get together, it tends to be around events organised by associations like the Club des Annonceurs (The Advertisers' Club). We recently had a soiree at the Hard Rock Cafe, believe it or not."

Interviews by Mark Tungate.


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