On the Campaign Couch ... with JB
Q: I have just started at a new agency and am worried about my boss and colleagues seeing me drunk at our Christmas party. How can I make sure I don't make a fool of myself while still being able to drink?
A: I get increasingly irascible at this time of year and questions like this don't help, I can tell you. From the slender evidence available to me, it seems that you're old enough to hold down a job but not old enough to hold your drink. What do you do at weekends, for God's sake? Have one drink and then make a fool of yourself?
The days of the three-hour client lunch may be long past. You're far too young to remember those handsome, wheeled, wooden liqueur trolleys. "A digestif, sir? Cointreau, Curacao, Grand Marnier? Or perhaps a B&B?"
Things may have changed but not that much, I'm happy to say. You're clearly not cut out for an agency career. So why not go to this party, drink excessively, get fired and start all over again as a quantity surveyor? I'm told their parties are very decorous.
Q: I've been offered a huge pay rise to lead an account at a rival agency. However, the agency isn't as creative as my current one and has had lots of management changes and redundancies recently. Would it be foolish to move from my stable agency in the current climate?
A: Forget the current climate. It's always foolish to exchange an agency you admire, full of talented and engaging people, for an agency rife with management dissent and rocked by redundancies.
Why do you think you've been offered a huge pay rise? The account they want you to run has already put its coat on and is heading for the door. You're the fifth person to be offered the job - and they've had to up the ante every time. I expect you feel like the seventh wife: you'll be able to keep him happy; the other six never really understood him. If you still decide to go ahead, take exceptional care over the prenup, that's all.
Q: What's the most impressive Champagne brand to send a client?
A: I recommend a magnum of Krug Clos du Mesnil. To follow this suggestion, you need to be: a) a member of one of the Annabel's group of clubs; b) happy to cough up 2,000 quid (p&p not inc.); and c) culturally insensate.
Clients likely to appreciate such a bottle need to be: a) vain; b) venal; c) unfamiliar with the Bribery Act; and d) culturally insensate. (Does that narrow it down at all?)
According to the Office for Budget Responsibility and the OECD, the next Christmas for which Champagne for clients will be thought seemly is due in 2021.
Q: Branded content is back in the news. Do you agree that all advertiser brands can also be entertainment platforms?
A: I'm afraid I don't understand your question.
Q: A colleague at the ad agency I work for has his own MySpace page and is attracting lots of traffic and claims he's meeting lots of young women through it that he promises to get in ads. Is this the modern version of the casting couch and, more importantly, should I set up my own page?
A: No. MySpace? He's lying.
Q: I'm the marketing director at a big London ad agency. Our Christmas party is on the same night as those of a couple of other agencies. I want to pull out the stops to ensure the industry and potential new clients come to our party. What do you recommend?
A: I recommend that you hold your Christmas party towards the end of January. It should be called your 2012 Christmas Party. Your invitation, which you need to craft extremely carefully and send out soon, should touch lightly on the basic marketing principles and creative leap that led to this decision. There should be festive fare, Santa with a sack of presents and the I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas compilation disc playing throughout. Everyone will come because there'll be nothing else on offer; and they'll all compare your party favourably with those predictable affairs they attended during the bloated days of late December.
Q: I'm 40, feisty and fanciable, with a bit of a thing for older men. If you were "on the market", what would I need to do to impress you?
A: You've done enough already.
"Ask Jeremy", a collection of Jeremy Bullmore's Campaign columns, is available from Haymarket, priced £10. Telephone (020) 8267 4919.
Jeremy Bullmore welcomes questions via firstname.lastname@example.org or Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Rd, London W6 7JP.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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