They don't have a name yet - or, for that matter, a creative director -
but what they do have is a client: TBWA's pounds 10 million Carphone
Warehouse business. The big question is what might persuade other
clients to leave their mammoth agencies and join this minnow? Why should yet another agency be added to the 743 others that already exist?
We all know that the bait offered by new agencies to inspire confidence
in clients will vary in its detail, but it will usually combine three
elements, varying according to the personalities involved.
First, credentials. Clemmow, the planner comes with the Simons Palmer
heritage. Think of Sony PlayStation, Nike, Goldfish, BT: all prove that
he is one of those planners who prefers to take his thinking upstream
where it can make a difference. Hornby, meanwhile, fits the mould of
accomplished account executive perfectly. A shrewd business operator and perceptive judge of advertising and human nature, his role on TBWA's Labour Party account bears testament to his status at the agency.
Second, the presentation. Or what cynics might call the part where
bullshit meets science. Distilling this new agency's thinking into an
easily digested formula does not, of course, produce a label that
separates it from all the other formulae being bandied about by its
competitors - only the work will do that - but it certainly makes sense.
A strategic approach, not necessarily advertising-led, applied to a few
clients who want to bring about change in their organisations.
The final bait concerns the essential newness of the thing. Yes, it
might go, we are another new agency, but we are experienced, talented
If you give your business to us, we personally will devote our enormous
energies and skills to you. We have left jobs where we spent more time
administering and delegating to work closely with you. You will always
be able to pick up the phone and talk to us. Etc.
If this sounds cynical it's not meant to, it's just to make the point
that every advertising start-up risks sounding the same. But my
prediction, for what it's worth, is that it won't be long before this
agency starts to make its presence felt.
TBWA, meanwhile, has moved swiftly to appoint Trevor Beattie to the
position of chairman. This is a smart signal that creativity remains at
the heart of its offering and an even smarter way if keeping the most
likely candidate for a breakaway on board after the election.
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