PERSPECTIVE: Ma’s Italian peasant wisdom proved right in latest Bates move

Michael Bungey tried hard not to bat an eyelid when I asked him in Bates’s swanky Manhattan towers if Graham Hinton was getting the chop this week. Perhaps it was his miserable cold or the appalling portrait of Ted Bates giving us the evil eye, but he wasn’t quite as Teflon as usual in his response. To be fair, he knew that I knew, and that I wasn’t supposed to know, and that he wasn’t supposed to let on that he knew either.

Michael Bungey tried hard not to bat an eyelid when I asked him in

Bates’s swanky Manhattan towers if Graham Hinton was getting the chop

this week. Perhaps it was his miserable cold or the appalling portrait

of Ted Bates giving us the evil eye, but he wasn’t quite as Teflon as

usual in his response. To be fair, he knew that I knew, and that I

wasn’t supposed to know, and that he wasn’t supposed to let on that he

knew either.



Typical conversation with a worldwide CEO really. There was nothing for

it but to change the subject, and talk about those damn Yankees and

Cordiant’s improving share price. However, Bungey did complain that we

over-analysed Bates in the pages of Campaign. So, here’s this week’s

piece of over-analysis.



Graham Hinton’s sad exit from Bates UK was about as unexpected as the

exposure of Jeffery Archer’s economies with the truth over the episode

surrounding that prostitute and that dinner engagement. It was on the

cards way before the departure of Jay Pond-Jones and the return of

Andrew Cracknell. In truth, the seeds were sown in the manner of his

arrival.



As my dear old ma would always say when a girl dumped her boyfriend for

me: ’Remember, if she’s done it to him, she’ll do it to you.’ Italian

peasant wisdom is - mistakenly - not valued highly in the advertising

industry. So, what happened to Andrew Cracknell to the benefit of Paul

Twivy and Tim Ashton, then happened to Twivy and Ashton in favour of

Hinton and Pond-Jones, and - in turn - happened to them to allow for

Andrew Cracknell’s return and, now, Toby Hoare.



One hopes that the musical chairs will now stop, but it’s unlikely.

Although Hinton always had a difficult time at Bates, particularly when

he was also the president of the Institute of Practitioners in

Advertising, it was the Graham Green saga that did for him. Will this

all now have to be unpicked? Bungey insisted not. I’m not so sure.



The new team will want to hire their own people. Which new team

doesn’t?



And, as I understand it, part of Cracknell’ s brief is to find his own

successor, who will want to ...



However much a safe pair of hands and wise choice Hoare is - and I

really think he is, having done an underrated job at Young & Rubicam -

Bates London will struggle without Bates New York driving international

business its way. It’s network reality. There have not been too many

examples of local London offices that flourish amid a disappointing

international network. Funnily enough, Bates (then BSB Dorland) did

during Cracknell’s first tenure. Most of the clients are still there, so

it has a good base.



Cracknell and Hoare must now show that they are on the pace enough to

deal with a hugely changed market, and - ironically enough - to find

Bates an unique selling proposition in London. It will not be easy.



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