Let's do lunch inside the world of advertising

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The Independent Online
One of the industry's leading film directors this week marched out of his current production company, Spot Films, to join another.

Good for him! Where's he gone?

Well, actually, he has gone to the new UK office of an American outfit called, ahem, Radical Media.

Oh. Really? Well, what's his name?

I was afraid you might ask me that. It's Tarsem.

Golly. Tarsem Smith? Tarsem Kaye? Tarsem Brown?

No, just one name: Tarsem. He's truly brilliant, you see, like Pele, Madonna and Kermit.

And who said ad folk were pretentious?

With all these glamorous artistic types trotting about, it's hard for agencies to appreciate the grotty jobs that come their way. Take Saatchi & Saatchi, former queen bee among agencies, which this week landed a task more fitting for drones. The Charlotte Street agency has won the first work for terrestrial TV station Channel 5. Lots of sexy trailers for upcoming programmes, eh?

No, this pounds 5m job is more mundane. Before the channel can launch, 10 million households need their TVs retuned. Lucky Saatchi gets to tell us all about it. But there's more shame still: Channel 5 is going to a "hot shop" elsewhere for the truly thrilling stuff.

Meanwhile, at sophisticated Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, cruel client Sainsbury's has forced the talented team to drop its "celebrity recipes" for grubby tactical ads that tell customers how to save 5p on frozen peas. Will the pounds 40m task be taken elsewhere? This week, the company's marketing director gave a heartwarming vote of support. "Everybody wants to know when I'm going to ditch the buggers - but it ain't going to happen."

They say there are only five ideas in advertising. Not surprising then that BMP, DDB and Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper both stumbled on the same one this week. Both agencies set out to promote in-car air conditioning (BMP for Volkswagen, Euro for Citroen). Both ads mock an earlier piece of Lintas work for Sure deodorant, in which the brand logo remains dry while the rest of the model's back drips with sweat. When the ads' similarity came to light, sweat broke out all over. Volkswagen's ad manager blubbered the following: "This is a nightmare situation."

Persil is pumping millions of pounds into a campaign based on the idea of men sharing a flat. J Walter Thompson devised the homage to BBC's Men Behaving Badly which will break in Loaded and GQ. It will not refer to housewives. Thank heavens for one soap powder multinational with its finger on the pulse of western civilisation!