Hezza versus Saatchi: the row that's rocking the ad world

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The Independent Online

The lofty peers preside over an increasingly hostile dispute concerning an article in Campaign magazine – which Hezza owns – about Saatchi's advertising agency, Immediate Sales.

Last week, Campaign, the ad industry's "bible", reported that the Conservative Party intended to replace Saatchi's firm as its official ad agency, following its leadership election in December.

The report followed this column's revelation that Saatchi had stood down as Tory chairman (in circumstances that are still not entirely clear) and was seen as evidence of a rift at the top of the party.

However, Immediate Sales angrily denied their imminent sacking. On Friday, the firm's chief executive Michael Moszynski told me Campaign's report was "just untrue," and that it would be corrected this week.

However, yesterday's issue contained no such retraction, and Hezza's magazine now tells me it stands by the original piece.

Saatchi's firm looks like fighting this one all the way, though. "The story's still untrue and we're still seeking redress," they said last night.

* Having quit the Formula One circuit, the motor-racing tycoon Eddie Jordan is relaunching himself as a movie mogul.

The high-living Irishman is currently working as executive producer on a film called Sucking Diesel, about the F1 circuit. In a textbook case of life imitating art, he may also take a walk-on part in the flick.

"They're concerned to make it authentic and as realistic as possible and that's where I come in," he tells me. "As well as reading the script, I'm spending time on set. There's also talk of me having a walk-on part as the old boss."

Jordan's co-star will be Alison Doody – best known as the love interest in Indiana Jones – who I bumped into this week at a bash to launch The Goffs Million horse race.

"Eddie's involved with the technical side of the film, which is just as well, because I know absolutely nothing about cars or racing," she admits. "I can just about keep my own car on the road, but that's about it."

* John Cleese reacts angrily to suggestions that his career is in abeyance, and once sued London's Evening Standard for claiming he isn't funny any more.

Nothing could be further from the truth, but Mr Cleese has managed to find time in his busy diary to provide the voice-over for a new brand of in-car GPS system.

"This is a first for personal navigation," says a spokesman for TomTom, the company behind the project. "As fans of the Monty Python sketches, it emphasises the fun we're bringing to satellite navigation."

Cleese, of course, has "form" when it comes to motoring. As Basil Fawlty, he famously gave his Austin Countryman a "damn good thrashing" with a branch.

* Sir Bob Geldof accused eBay of "disgusting greed" when it allowed Live8 tickets to be sold online at inflated prices. Everyone, he argued, should have an equal chance of attending tomorrow's bash in Hyde Park.

Some people are more equal than others, though. For yesterday, Quintessentially – a concierge service, whose members include the likes of Madonna and Kate Moss – e-mailed well-heeled clients offering "gold circle" tickets to the gig for £600 plus Vat.

"One of the Live8 organisers, Chris Gorman is a member," says the firm. "He arranged for us to have exclusive rights to sell the tickets to the enclosure: the money's going to Make Poverty History."

For £995 plus Vat, you can also get champagne and canapés on arrival. Isn't making poverty history grand!

* It couldn't have come at a worse time, but a spanner is about to be chucked into the works of Lord Coe's finely-tuned Olympic bid.

A pressure group called The Countryside Against the London Olympics has written to Jacques Rogge – president of the International Olympic Committee, which meets on Wednesday to decide who'll host the 2012 Games – claiming that: "London's bid breaches the IOC's own rules".

How so? "The Olympic charter makes it clear that sportsmen and women should have the right and freedom to carry out their sports in their own country," reads the letter. "The British Government acted with blatant discrimination against pistol shooters, by banning their sport."

It's an intriguing point, but then CALO are an intriguing lot. Established by rural campaigner Robin Page, they count Zac Goldsmith as a patron and have the slogan: "1936 Hitler's Olympics; 2012 Blair's Olympics." A bit of a stretch, but hey ho!

pandora@independent.co.uk

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