Opinion: On the Campaign couch ... with JB

I've been rootling through the Oddbins carrier bag that serves as my filing system and have found quite a few elderly and disgracefully neglected questions huddled together at the bottom of it. I do apologise. Here are some of them:

Q: Harris Tweed has just appointed an ad agency to promote its expensive jackets. Which media channels/products should it use to reach its target of mature, affluent men?

A: To be seen wearing new Harris Tweed is to declare yourself a parvenu. Mature men prefer mature clothes. Harris should learn from pre-ripped jeans and distressed furniture. Well-worn Harris Tweed jackets with pre-scuffed leather elbow-patches are much sought-after. The agency should recommend exclusive use of eBay: mature, affluent men will pay huge sums in order to appear penurious.

Q: Why do I pay ridiculous amounts of money to PR agencies who seem intent on ruining my business under my nose?

A: I can't think. Do please tell me. I'd be very interested to find out.

Q: A marketing director writes: Jeremy, I'm really keen to appoint a new agency from a shortlist of five. The only thing is, they haven't got an AAR reel. They assure me it's because they've been too busy working with other clients than pushing their own cause. Should I be concerned?

A: Call me cautious, call me an old ditherer - but I always think it's quite a good idea for clients to ask to see examples of an agency's work for other clients before finally tying the knot. Why not try this yourself? I doubt if the agency will find your request offensive. Once you've done that, I think you'll find the absence of an AAR reel irrelevant.

Q: I work in new business at an ad agency and I've been assigned the task of arranging our yearly Christmas do, where we entertain the Campaign journalists. I've been racking my brains and I can't find anything that would suit all of them. What do you suggest?

A: Just a bit late for this one, I'm afraid. Sorry. But do write and tell me what you finally did and how it went down. Are you still in your job?

Q: William Matthew Brown, aged five, writes: Hello Jeremy. My dad works in the agency. He works long hours and seems very tired most of the time. He is always on his mobile to the clients. And he goes to the office on weekends a lot. Mummy and me barely see him. Is there a more enjoyable job we can find for next year?

A: Dear William, many thanks for your excellent letter. I'm not sure that you should be trying to find a more enjoyable job for your father: I rather suspect that he's enjoying himself too much already. He may seem tired and grumpy most of the time, but agency work can be dangerously addictive. If he's competitive, and a bit vain, and loves winning, and savours his growing reputation as a real professional, he'll be having a ball. It's just you and Mummy that aren't. So rather than attempt to make him moderate his instincts, I suggest you play to them. Assemble a collection of profiles of the world's most admired and successful businessmen (Mummy will help you) and select only those that highlight the subject's astonishing ability to maintain a sane work/life balance. ("Even when in the middle of the year's most ambitious acquisition, Sir Matthew unfailingly leaves his office by 6pm and is known never to have missed a single one of his five children's sports days.") Daddy will read them avidly and you'll soon be seeing a great deal more of him. Don't blame me, however, if you and Mummy begin to wish you weren't.

Q: I'm a graduate working at a digital agency as an account executive. I love the agency environment but my immediate boss is totally incompetent and I know I could do her job ten times better. Unfortunately, I've only been at the agency for six months so it's too early to push for a promotion. What should I do?

A: Anyone who starts a sentence "I'm a graduate ..." is almost certainly not fit for purpose in our pleasantly meritocratic trade. On such slight evidence, I confidently side with your boss. So don't wait: go straight ahead and push for promotion now. I think you'll find it has an immediate effect. You'll be relieved to know there are plenty of other occupations where degrees are thought more important than ability.

- "Ask Jeremy", a collection of Jeremy Bullmore's Campaign columns, is available from Haymarket, priced £10. Telephone (020) 8267 4683. Jeremy Bullmore welcomes questions via campaign@haymarket.com or Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Rd, London W6 7JP.