Let's do lunch

Inside the world of advertising

Tom Carty and Walter Campbell, the creative duo at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, last week scooped the platinum award from the Creative Circle for their Volvo-in-a-tornado commercial. Not for these two the cheeky-chappie school of advertising; this is the saturnine team that came up with 1994's Dunlop commercial in which Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs" played over footage of a plump chap covered in silver paint. They also devised the cinema ad for BT which doubles as a pop promo for Dave Stewart - the one that shows a phone booth in a swimming pool, in a bathroom full of zombies, and in the middle of a road. Critics bitchily suggest Carty and Campbell ought to reward the wizard lensman Tony Kaye, who directed all three of the aforementioned commercials - but that can only be sour grapes.

It's official: ads featuring handsome models are putting off male readers. That is what a survey by Emap Consumer magazines says. It also says that ads featuring sexy women do not have the same effect - an earth-shattering and wholly unexpected discovery.

Four years ago, advertising attempts to interest young Americans in voting saw the Material Girl wrap herself in the Stars and Stripes. The increased youth vote is widely credited with helping Bill Clinton into the White House. So, surely our Conservatives would avoid anything similar for young British voters? Not so. Rock the Vote has cross-party support, despite the presence of Ben Elton, Jo Brand, the Boo Radleys and Eddie Izzard. Why? Well, agencies shortlisted to handle the work were the Tory favourite M&C Saatchi, Labour ally BMP DDB Needham (where the chief executive is Chris Powell, brother of Lady Thatcher's eminence grise, Charles) and, bringing up the rear, St Luke's. Possibly because of their political affiliations, M&C and BMP failed to secure the account. But Tony Blair should still be pleased St Luke's won. This is the agency where staff bought out the previous owner, Chiat Day, and became stakeholders.

As all ad-folk know, the true secret of success is making your client look good while allowing yourself to glisten, too. Young and Rubicam's PR, Bernard Barnett, is a master of the art. This week he wrote to the industry bible Campaign (where he was once editorial director) to defend his boss, Fernan Montero, after a slighting profile. Montero, wrote Barnett, "has an excellent sense of humour, is unfailingly kind and courteous and has given me insights into advertising I had no idea existed - and I've been around the business for more than 25 years". Fernan: either give the man a pay rise or marry him, pronto.

ALEX SOMERSET

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