More than most I can remember, the Rainey Kelly/Y&R deal has set
many people in the business thinking wistfully. Partly this is due to
the small matter of pounds 25 million, but it’s also down to Ms Rainey
and Messrs Kelly, Campbell and Roalfe being ordinary, relatively nice,
reasonably talented, decent people who took a bit of a gamble, worked
bloody hard, had a little luck and saw their endeavours rewarded
handsomely. A lot of advertising people will be thinking ’I can do
that’. You know what? You can.
I’m fond of quoting BMP DDB’s venerable chairman, Chris Powell, who says
’the great thing about advertising is that any two fools can stick their
name above a door and set up an agency - and frequently they do’. To my
mind there is never a better time to do so. There is a serious gap in
Look at the independent players. In the top 30, there’s the unique M&C
Saatchi, which will always be in a category by itself. There’s Leagas
Delaney, newly free of the Abbott Mead Vickers group, and an agency that
is both liberated and restricted by the pig-headed determination of Tim
Delaney. Then there is St Luke’s, advertising’s pet trendy
M&C Saatchi will always be a big agency - no matter what size it is,
Leagas Delaney will always be an unpigeonholeable anomaly, and St Luke’s
is an agency that will always polarise opinion: some clients and staff
will love it, others hate its archness.
Beyond the agency top 30, there’s Roose & Partners, a great survivor
currently going strong but which is never going to set the creative
world alight; Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters, the nearly-men of the past
decade, with a solid reputation nevertheless; and Walsh Trott Chick
Smith, growing, but yet to fulfil its potential. The other agencies -
Court Burkitt, Mustoe Merriman Herring Levy, Mitchell Patterson Grime
Mitchell - are relatively small, and the new entrant, Miles Calcraft
Briginshaw Duffy, is too young to be analysed seriously.
Admittedly, both Circus and Mother have an air of success, but both are
limited on the advertising stage: the former by the nature of its total
communications offering; the latter by the one-trick nature of its
creative offer, and an over-reliance on its founder, Robert Saville.
The gap to me is clear: a hungry start-up staffed by serious players
that will be a mature and creative agency from day one in which
significant advertisers can have confidence: the Rainey Kelly
positioning. Admittedly, trustworthy colleagues are thin on the ground,
and you may spend five years worrying about your mortgage and split with
your partner, but if you’re halfway decent there is a consolation: the
Young & Rubicams of this world will always be circling, brandishing
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