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
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
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
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.