Claire Beale on Advertising

Eight movers and shakers you should keep an eye on in 2008
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The Independent Online

According to the marketing guru Seth Godin the first thing that you should do this year is Google yourself. Let's be honest with each other, you've done it before haven't you? Don't be shy; Googling your name is no longer an onanistic ego trip, it's a professional imperative.

In 2008 you are who Google says you are. So your Google profile had better be good. Or at least accurate. Check your own GQ (Google Quotient) at careerdistinction.com using their online identity calculator. The truth is that Google has made brands of us all.

Adland, of course, has plenty of its own well established brands: the people who benchmark all that's great about the business. But who are the brands that will be defining adland's year ahead? Who will we all be Googling? Here's my list of eight people who we'll be watching in 2008. They're the people facing the toughest challenges, the people poised on the brink of great opportunity, the people who have great expectations to meet.

They're already all players in the business, and I really, really hope that new people to watch will emerge as the year unfolds. For now, though, these are my tips for spotlight hogging. And one way or another I suspect all their GQs will be quite different in 12 months' time.

JUAN CABRAL

2007 was Cabral's year. As Fallon's creative supremo, Cabral was the man behind some of the best ads of the past 12 months: Cadbury Dairy Milk's Gorilla; Sony Bravia's Play Doh, Sony Walkman's Music Pieces.

But the question for 2008 is how long he'll stick around in the UK, or, indeed, at Fallon. Both desperately need him, but you can be sure that the best agencies in the world will now be tapping him up, and like many creatives before him he may be nurturing a desire for directing: Gorilla was his first real taste, it surely won't be his last.

JOHNNY HORNBY

Hornby has long been one to watch. A founder of Clemmow Hornby Inge, he is one of the industry's true characters, who combines a winning wickedness with being one of the greatest client handlers.

In 2007 he made several million pounds selling a stake in the agency to the mighty WPP; for 2008 the question is whether this will change either the man or the agency. You can certainly expect CHI to fully realise its full-service offering and start snaffling media accounts from the specialists. But will Hornby find himself drawn further into the WPP web?

NICK HURRELL

After quitting his comfy post at M&C Saatchi in 2006 to start up with top planner Neil Dawson, Hurrell seemed to spend most of 2007 finding yet more partners for his fledgling agency (media maestro Greg Grimmer and creative chief Al Moseley).

Sure, there were bits of business along the way (Garrard, Auto Trader), but you've got to say that it wasn't a rocket fuelled start for the agency. Yet I can't see Hurrell allowing his venture to fail; as the impresario, and a fine one at that, expect Hurrell to put on a show this year. But the agency needs a kick-start with a new name and it needs to finally deliver on that full-service proposition with some meaty clients.

JAMES MURPHY

Another new agency ringmaster, Murphy with his partners David Golding and Ben Priest spent last autumn on gardening leave. So expect all three of them to have an extremely well-honed business plan that they'll attack with all the relish of a starving dog unleashed before a meaty bone. They might not be the three most experienced or talented people in adland (though Murphy is surely one of the best suits of his generation), but they did an excellent job at Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R. And having the courage to break away from the big agency financial comfort blanket gives them a real edge.

Questions for 2008: what are they going to call themselves? And which RKCR/Y&R clients might they lure away (non-competes notwithstanding of course)?

DAVID PATTON

David Patton was arguably the UK's most creatively-astute client (he was the marketer behind the award-collecting "Colour Like No Other" campaign for Sony Bravia).

Still, when he was hired last year as the new chief executive at one of the UK's least ostentatiously creative agencies, Grey, jaws went slack. Not because he was David Patton, but because he was a client, and clients don't really have a great track record when it comes to running ad agencies.

So Patton has a lot to prove this year. He's got to hire (or promote) a new creative leader and he's got to make a still somewhat bruised agency love him and want to follow him. The question is not simply can he do it, but will he want to do it.

FARAH RAMZAN GOLANT

In theory Ramzan Golant is sitting comfortably at the top of the agency pile. She's the chief executive of the UK's biggest ad agency, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, and 2007 was an excellent business year, pulling AMV even further ahead of its rivals.

But anyone who knows Ramzan Golant will understand that she's already working on the next big thing. A move up the BBDO ladder to the US? A more international role? Or new plans to re-shape AMV more dramatically for the digital age?

She needs to work on AMV's creative reputation (still not as great as it should be) before she can truly move on to new things, but expect to hear more from Ramzan Golant this year.

ROBERT SENIOR

Regular readers of this paper will have seen Senior recently described as "without question London adland's star performer of the last two years". Quite something to live up to. Even more to repeat.

Senior, a founder of Fallon, is now the chief of the newly-formed SSF (Saatchi & Saatchi/Fallon) Group. For someone used to relative independence and mounting success, 2008 will be a real challenge for Senior.

There's no doubt he's one of the industry's most accomplished leaders and well up for the task of reinventing Saatchi & Saatchi, but will he enjoy the big corporate game? My reckoning is that he'll push the maverick card as far as he can, but that he's shrewd enough to play the politics.

NEIL SIMPSON

Another client turned adman (or rather adman, turned client, turned adman). 2008 is Simpson's first full year as the chief executive of Publicis, an agency that roller-coasted through most of 2007 losing staff and clients with abandon.

Like Patton at Grey, Simpson has taken on an agency with issues. Publicis has a lacklustre creative reputation, it desperately needs to get back on the new business trail and it must come to stand for something more than integration.

Simpson has a long way to go, though by all accounts he has the confidence to believe that he can effect a turnaround. He must: Publicis cannot afford another year like the last.

Beale's best in show: channel 4

In spite of the fact that we've all been sitting on our mince-pie arses in front of the telly for the past couple of weeks, the quality of the ads on TV has been abysmal.

Thankfully, at Channel 4 it's been business as usual. Pretty much all of C4's creative work for its brands hits the spot, and the latest batch, for the digital switchover, is no exception.

They star the 1980s icon Max Headroom, a virtual TV presenter who captured some of the exciting newness of the fourth channel. Twenty years on, Max is holed up in an old people's home, still blathering about digital and moaning that no one listened back when he predicted that it would be the future of television.

Digital is now TV's present, but plenty of people are still confused about the whole thing, according to a recent report from the Ofcom Consumer Panel. I'm not sure Max Headroom is really going to reach out to the technophobes, but this campaign is a lovely romp down memory lane. It reminds you quite how far we have come since a bloke's head on a TV screen was cutting-edge.

Claire Beale is the editor of Campaign magazine

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