John Ward, who retired as Bates UK’s vice-chairman earlier this
month, is setting himself up as a planning ’firefighter’ to help
agencies and clients tackle urgent problems.
Working under the name of Emergency Ward, the ex-planning chief says he
will be ready at a few hours’ notice to help sort out a planning
difficulty, advise on strategy for a new business pitch - and even
rescue a late agency submission for an IPA Effectiveness Award.
Ward said: ’Obviously I’m at the top end of the market in terms of what
I’m paid. But agencies and clients will need less of my time to sort out
a problem than they might if they employed somebody else.’
By establishing his own operation, Ward becomes the latest in a number
of experienced agency planners who have decided to go it alone to
capitalise on the dearth of top-class planning talent.
Ward said that he already had assignments from a direct marketing agency
and a consultancy and had been asked to become involved in a couple of
projects at his former agency. ’I would love to continue working with
Bates because I know its client base.’
During his 12 years at the agency, Ward helped evolve some of its most
high-profile campaigns, including its work for the Halifax and the Royal
The positioning of his consultancy is based on what Ward said had been
his own experiences as a senior agency manager.
’It’s sod’s law that a client will call a pitch at the busiest time of
the year when an agency doesn’t have enough people and it has to risk
giving the work to a junior. I provide the heavyweight help to get it
out of a mess,’ he explained.