Few advertising figures have attracted quite as much spiteful
comment as Trevor Beattie. It comes from all sides. From creatives who
continue to debate the ancient Wonderbra authorship quarrel. From those
who begrudge his love of self-publicity. From rival agencies who resent
his ability to carry clients with him when he moves jobs. And from D&AD
purists who have felt the sharp side of his pen in these very pages.
One is driven to admire the sheer chutzpah of someone who can amass such
a diverse assortment of enemies without having exchanged two words with
most of them. Part of him must relish the venom, and not only because it
is the price of success. It brings with it the consolation of knowing
that he is one of the very few creative directors who is such a
consummate spokesman for his business that he can be trusted, all alone,
in front of the camera in the most important film any agency will make:
the dreaded AAR reel.
TBWA GGT Simons Palmer’s new reel is as simple as it gets. Just Trevor
talking about ads in a white room, wearing white jeans and an fcuk
To anyone who has to watch a string of agency reels on a regular basis
(clients and, God help me, Campaign journalists) it is refreshingly free
of the they-would-say-that-wouldn’t-they cliches that usually abound:
’most creative’, ’best planning’, ’most international’, ’most
effective’, ’best dressed’ and so on.
TBWA’s confidence is unusual both in the context of its rivals and its
own history; I once saw a particularly excruciating GGT AAR reel that
showed senior people pursuing their out-of-work hobbies - running,
cooking (that was the token woman), driving classic cars etc. And a
seminal agency of the 60s and 70s, KMP, once made a reel that started
with a picture of an account man’s tongue. This was followed by a
client’s buttocks and the line ’If you want an agency that will lick
your arse, then don’t come to us’.
For a business that is all about communications, agencies can be
extraordinarily inept at making films about themselves. So - assuming
that the megalomaniac agency chairman can be persuaded not to hog the
spotlight - what should be in the film?
Ads, obviously, with a hint of context and results for the comfort
People, whether it is a natural spokesman or a collection of
I’d offer philosophy and culture too - curiously, this seems to be
missing, or merely vaguely implied, in a good many AAR reels.
Perhaps an agency that is really serious about selling itself via the
AAR should take it one stage further: put the task out to pitch and ask
another agency to make the film. It’s the logical next step, after
Have your say at www.campaignlive.com on channel 4.