Magazine article Marketing

Peace in Our Time

Magazine article Marketing

Peace in Our Time

Article excerpt

The new helmsman at ISBA has vowed to step it away from the stormy waters between advertisers and agencies and into calmer climes.

Disgruntled agency chiefs looking for ammunition to throw at short-sighted clients would have come away disappointed from last week's Incorporated Society of British Advertisers' Policy Conference.

John Hooper, the man who has taken over from Ken Miles as ISBA's director general, promised members a new era of "robust co-operation" between ISBA and ad agencies.

As political signals go, it wasn't hard to decipher. Ken Miles's 15 years at the society's helm were marked by many successes, but sweet-talking agency chiefs wasn't one of them. Now here was his successor setting out a new agenda, more in tune with our post-cold war, ceasefire-in-Ulster times.

He was not, he insisted, "going soft on agencies". It was just that "sensible, intelligent, measured discussion and identifying areas in which we can cooperate, is far more likely to achieve greater effectiveness for our marketing communications than adopting a confrontational posture."

It's a sentiment that has many on the agency side nodding in agreement. "It is ridiculous to have a situation where two important partners - advertisers and agencies - are being seen as at one another's throats through the antagonistic attitude that ISBA had taken previously," says Mike Finn, managing director of Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters. "That antagonistic approach, just for the sake of it, was no good to anyone."

Few would argue with that - but few at the conference had any illusions about what had exacerbated the client/agency split. When money became tight, the hairline cracks in the relationship turned into fissures. "A lot of good things about agencies were tossed out of the window in the search for reduced costs," says Mike Sommers, managing director of MGM Cinemas. …

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