Let's do lunch inside the world of advertising

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The Independent Online
Suppose for a minute that Maurice Saatchi had actually stolen his peerage, sneaked into the House of Lords and stuffed some old robes under his jacket. It could hardly cause more embarrassment if he had. It's thrown up all this tricky etiquette. Must we bow, or curtsy, when we meet him? And what do we say to his poor, neglected brother Charles, who actually wrote the Tory ads? How about a special title for Chuck, such as Big Chief Wah-Wah? The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has been no less troubled than the rest of us. The IPA originally considered holding some massive jamboree to celebrate the elevation of an adman, but it's had second thoughts. Instead, it will hold a small lunch or dinner for him in November, with a small number of senior industry figures. Let's Do Lunch hopes the IPA will invite some of Maurice's estranged pals from Saatchi and Saatchi, the agency that kicked him out last year. That should get the party going!

After months of being courted by Abbott Mead Vickers to replace Bob Hoskins as BT's frontman, Billy Connolly turned down the offer in August. His excuse: a busy schedule. Part of that hectic workload was revealed last week. Connolly is working on an 18-month campaign for Goldfish, the new credit card in which another privatised giant, British Gas, has a major stake. Congratulations to the agency behind Goldfish, Simons Palmer Clemmow Johnson, for offering the burly Scot a sufficiently vast fee. Meanwhile, Abbott Mead is testing other candidates for the shoes of Hoskins. Rory McGrath - like Connolly, a Celtic comedian with a beard - gets first crack, with a series of films promoting price cuts.

Poor John Gummer. All those years slogging away for Thatch and Major, then he's beaten into the House of Lords by his brother, a mere PR man. Peter Gummer, you will recall, is the man who slipped into ermine at the same time as Maurice Saatchi. Compared with John, Peter's had it easy: never was he obliged to cram his daughter's gob with a prion-packed burger, oh no. Well, John's learned his lesson. If it's services to advertising they're after, that's what they'll get. Last week, his Environment Department announced it was getting rid of the rules preventing poster hoardings in the countryside. Agencies are beside themselves with excitement. But they shouldn't set their sights too high. Gummer intends to veto environmentally sensitive areas, so there'll be no ratecard for the rocks at Stonehenge or the white cliffs of Dover.

Planning Ahead for Christmas Award. The winner of this seasonal prize in 1996 goes to Woolworths, which has already begun its yuletide drive. Woolworths has launched a campaign promising to match anybody else's price for toys. At Bates Dorland, the account director Carole Butler explains: "If you're going to make a creditable price pledge, you have to start early." And they did.

If Fernan Montero, chairman and chief executive of Young & Rubicam Europe, was not in fact an automaton that had learned speech and behaviour patters from a discarded corporate handbook, how would he react to the news that his agency has won from Saatchi and Saatchi the pounds 8m account for the soft drink, Dr Pepper?

He'd dance a little jig, and say he was chuffed.

Is that what he did this week?

No, he told Campaign: "We are gratified with this assignment as it completes our European mandate to assist Cadbury Schweppes in making Dr Pepper a major player in its category."

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