Let's do lunch

inside the world of advertising
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The Independent Online
BMP DDB remains busy with election work. It has put together a film for the Ministry of Sound nightclub urging young people to exercise their votes, as described in the Creative Impulse feature opposite. Tory campaigners will be interested to note that BMP DDB is also acting for the Labour Party. Plenty of work for now, then, but will the Paddington shop have anything much to do when the election is over?

Possibly the tiniest agency in the world has been appointed to act for insurer Direct Line. Mortimer Whittaker O'Sullivan, an off-shoot of the GGT Group, which can only be seen under a microscope, snaffled the pounds 13m "red phone on wheels" account from under the nose of incumbent agency, multinational giant TBWA.

At J Walter Thompson, anything is possible. The Berkeley Square agency, hitherto stereotyped by chippy outsiders as the natural home of Oxbridge bluebloods, has taken steps to prove itself an absolute meritocracy. A certain Mr Colebrook, originally employed in the post room, was last week appointed International Group President of JWT Worldwide. But outsiders remain unconvinced. Mr Colebrook's first name is Miles.

Amid all the excitement (surely not - Ed) generated by the Liberal Democrat conference last month, one sad tale passed almost unnoticed. The party's ad agency, Knight Leach Delaney, was forced into voluntary liquidation by bad debts. All 20 staff were made redundant, but managing director Stuart Leach, with five colleagues, found a home at little-known through- the-line agency Rapier Stead and Bowden. According to Campaign, Leach will continue to work with the Lib Dem campaign team.

Until now, media buyers have placed little faith in the grand claims made by Internet companies, which say their sites are visited by several million anoraks each week. Without proof, why should anybody pay for an ad site? Now, however, the Audit Bureau of Circulations is close to agreeing an international standard for monitoring Internet sites. The first certificates should be available within the next eight weeks.

Pepsi has officially denied planning to turn Santa Claus blue. The cola drink, which launched "project blue" earlier this year, with a change of livery for its Diet, Max and original versions, has promoted itself with posters showing traditionally red objects in blue: a blue ace of hearts, a blue Labour rosette, a blue strawberry. Santa - whose red costume, believe it or not, was first seen in a 1931 ad campaign from Coca-Cola - appeared a prize target, if perhaps a little beyond even this drink giant's marketing budget.

Walsh Trott Chick Smith must be doing something wrong. First, it landed the account for Labatts - shortly before the brewer was purchased by Whitbread and the advertising moved to Whitbread agencies BBII and Lowe Howard-Spink. Then Walsh Trott was appointed to work on the Daily Express, whose editor, unfortunately, was subsequently removed. The account is now up for pitch once more. Is this agency cursed?

ALEX SOMERSET

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