MEDIA HEADLINER: The man from the third place emerges with allmodcomms - Patrick Morrison wants to help creatives make their ads powerful

Patrick Morrison has all the right credentials to launch a creative

media agency. He's a surfer, wears cool T-shirts and still understands

"youth" despite being 37.

He's the sort of guy you see in all media agencies now, trying to steer

the media buyers in suits away from their calculators and TVRs toward a

land where flyposters and actors doing stunts are the norm. Actually,

this is a little unfair on Morrison who, having gravitated from a

traditional TV buying background, appreciates the value of media muscle,

but wants to create a space away from the large buying points.

His new venture, allmodcomms, will compete with the likes of Naked and

Unity in supplying ad agencies, media owners and advertisers with

creative media ideas. Morrison, who previously ran Manning Gottlieb

Media's creative media unit, will continue to work with its clients, but

the agency is wholly independent.

Morrison is a straightforward and likeable bloke. He doesn't hide behind

jargon, and his reasoning is simple and clear.

"Most creatives find it really useful to have a media person around the

table, on tap, when they are working. It's a role alongside account

planners to define how a message could work best and be manifested in

the most powerful way," he says.

This is something Morrison already has experience of. He has worked

with, among others, St Luke's on its COI Communications account for the

Working Families Tax Credit, and with TBWA/London on the launch of

PlayStation 2. His vision for allmodcomms is not to get stuck in the

"youth" or "urban" media ghetto, but to offer creative media to all

brands and media owners.

Morrison hails from Leeds and looks like a less shambolic version of

Dave Gedge, the lead singer of the Wedding Present and, once, one of

that city's favourite sons. He got into media after a spell in Italy

working as a salesman for a publishing company. He says: "I got the job

only to find that basic Italian was more extensive than my holiday

words: 'buongiorno', 'bella' and 'grazie'. I was told if I didn't make a

sale in two weeks I'd be out. I stayed for 18 months."

Moving to London, Morrison says he turned down a "poxy" offer from Tony

Kenyon at CIA before winding up there anyway after John Billett, which

he joined, was merged with CIA. At CIA he planned and bought across all

media before becoming a founder of The Billett Consultancy after it

demerged from CIA.

In 1995, Morrison was lured to Manning Gottlieb Media, which at the time

billed £40 million and had 20 staff. "I loved it," he says. "And

never looked back, starting with the launch of PlayStation. We had no

baggage for that launch. No data, no precedent, except to do it


Morrison claims that he always wanted to launch his own creatively

driven media agency and, despite the downturn, thinks the time is right.

Of the split with Manning Gottlieb, he says: "I can't recall a happy

'spin out' or breakaway ever. Thankfully, allmodcomms has a

collaborative relationship with Manning Gottlieb. I know that Nick and

Colin's 'escape from CIA' was traumatic. I am very lucky to have their

magnanimous support in allmodcomms. It creates a virtuous circle as I

launch with Manning Gottlieb as my first client, and haven't had to

spend 'months in the garden'."

When he has a spare weekend Morrison is off surfing in Devon or


He has been riding the waves for more than ten years and spent last

Christmas driving down the Brazilian coast finding good surfing


These opportunities may become rare as Morrison attempts to make a go of

allmodcomms. He is chasing business and hopes to soon hire a

new-business director.

Allmodcomms is founded on solid foundations. Despite not being an

industry "name" in the way that the Naked founders were, he is well

connected with both media owners and ad agencies. More importantly, he

has strong ideas and a great track record (work for PlayStation, Royal &

Sun Alliance and Virgin Mobile stands out).

One piece of work, which Morrison describes as a "co-conspiracy" rather

than a sponsorship, provides an insight into the stranger side of his

psyche. He worked with ID magazine on a comic book-style story called

The Third Place, which coincided with the launch of PlayStation 2.

Completely unbranded, it was a subtle piece of editorial activity to

create an idea of "The Third Place" in readers' minds. The plot involved

two young men who enter a body to rid it of a killer virus. The

conclusion of the story sees them exit the body on a stream of


At this point I feel like getting my coat, but Morrison sparks up

another cigarette and normality descends.


1988: CIA, planner/buyer to media group head

1992: The Billett Consultancy, board director

1995: Manning Gottlieb Media, head of strategic planning

1999: Manning Gottlieb Media, creative media director

2001: Allmodcomms, founder


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