LET'S DO LUNCH

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The Independent Online
Ever wondered why so many of the best ads are created by men? Perhaps it's because there are hardly any women creatives. Which in turn might have something to do with the stunts pulled by agency men. One of the few female creative teams in London - Mary Sue Lawrence and Rosie Elston of Mustoe Merriman Herring Levy - revealed to Campaign last week how unidentified men at their former agency, DMB&B, welcomed them to work by covering the entire office with sanitary towels. Can we top this? OK: across town, at another enormous agency, one creative director has devised an uncommonly charming initiation ceremony for new female creatives: he drops his trousers and presses his privates against a glass wall. Can't wait for the (hopefully) inevitable identity parade.

Another big turn-off for women is the industry's major charitable event, an annual night of boxing which last week raised half a million pounds. Laudable, of course ... and nothing delights women more than getting a ringside seats and having blood and sweat sprayed all over your face, not to mention a couple of stray teeth dropping down your blouse.

Martini, which declared itself out of bounds for ugly people on its relaunch last year, has now shortlisted beautiful people to star in its forthcoming ads. A lucky handful lines up for the last round at Kitsh Kasting Studios today, survivors of the 35,000 hopefuls that agency Howell Henry Caldecott Lury claims to have heard from. As is customary, Martini has declared that it seeks "personality" as well as looks - yeah, right - though gorgeousness is vital: candidates lacking in this department were encouraged to seek cosmetic surgery and/or chest wigs.

Leo Burnett has promoted its head of media buying and deputy managing director, Nick Brien, to managing director. Staff are preparing to mothball casual wear: one of his first moves on joining the agency three years ago was to ban comfortable clothes. Look out for Burnett's staff trying to ape his favoured style - the well-cut jacket, though, unfortunately, one size too small.

Can anyone keep Ken Livingstone away from commercials? Remember those dreadful promotions for British cheese? Ken's excuse then was that his fees might help to meet the cost of setting up a computer model of the British economy, to rival the Treasury's own. Now he's got more explicitly subversive, joining up with the best-known lefty in adland - the exquisitely well-named Dave Trott - for a couple of films about Third World debt. In the first, Ken nods at a Gilbert and George "Naked Shit" poster, observing that you know what has more goodness in it than Third World children ingest in a week. Strong stuff, but as the films will run in independent, art- house cinemas, this is preaching to the converted. The second film might cause more mayhem. Here Ken sternly rebukes anybody who should even consider defacing paper money with political slogans, such as "Bank loans kill 1,500 Third World infants a day". His payoff, "They think it's OK for money to destroy people, but not for people to destroy money" - should make viewers swallow. Unlike the cheese ads.

As predicted last week, Maurice and Charles Saatchi are quitting grotty Marylebone for classier offices in Soho. Just steps from where they set up their first agency 26 years ago. Call it Memory Lane.

ALEX SOMERSET

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