Should we protest against Trump?


Today Donald Trump is visiting Britain and the shit has well and truly hit the fan.  In an interview with The Sun newspaper (don’t get me started) published this morning, he launches a scathing attack on Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for Brexit negotiations and appears to back Boris Johnson to replace her as PM.  Wow.  Special relationship huh?

I’m writing this from Windsor, literally a few yards from where Donald will be meeting the Queen later today.  Elsewhere across the country, there are protests planned.  Is this a futile act of fist-shaking or a valid democratic protest?  The Trump Baby has attracted particular attention – it’s a Trump-shaped blimp in a nappy, due to be floated over Westminster.  ‘Isn’t that a bit childish” some have asked.

I’m a big fan of the protests for three reasons:

  1. When it comes to outrageous and childish – yes, ok, guilty as charged – but he started it.
  2. The intervention this morning has overstepped the mark in terms of diplomatic conventions – frankly anything goes.
  3. Being a bit more sensible, if we banned protests from legitimate complainers, it’s more likely that the more extreme malcontents (let’s shorthand them ‘the nutters’) will do something seriously dangerous or threatening.  I’m going to be all grown up and conclude that would be a bad thing.  You can make your own judgement.



Is advertising really full of sh*ts?

Following the exit of Martin Sorrell “under a cloud”, there seems to have been something of a purge in adland (did I really use that expression? Sorry).

This week Ogilvy fired its longstanding global creative chief Tham Kai Meng after a misconduct investigation.

The company-wide memo from CEO John Seifert read: “After carefully reviewing the investigation’s findings with several of my partners, we concluded that Khai’s behavior was a clear breach of our company values and code of conduct,”  “I have decided to terminate Khai’s employment with the company with immediate effect.” Splat.

Now McCann Health has shown the door to its creative lead Jeremy Perrott.  “We received a complaint about a violation of our Code of Conduct by McCann Health’s Jeremy Perrott,” read a company statement. “As a result, following an investigation, he is no longer with the company.” Wham.

Further investigation suggests the root of the Perrott complaint was “offensive and inappropriate” language.

Really?  Is that it?  Inappropriate language provokes a big network to fire its top creative talent?  Has the agency world become so politically correct, all of a sudden?

Or have we been working with evil tyrants or monsters all this time, without realising it?

An industry populated by total bastards. That seems to be the implication.

WPP creative veteran Neil French certainly doesn’t think so.  He paints the ousted individuals as the victims:  “The ‘me-too’ get-out is a boon to moribund organizations, is it not? Find a turbulent priest, throw up your Trumplike little hands in mock horror, and the pc mob will do the rest.”

Is it because big networks have become terrified of law suits (remember JWT and L’affaire Martinez?) and will go to inordinate lengths to cover their arses, even at the expense of jettisoning their top people?  It’s often said an agency’s greatest assets are its people.  Yet we’re increasingly quick to drop them.  Is that wise?

Or are we barking up the wrong tree?  Maybe these were just people whose time had come or whose faces no longer fitted?  The “internal investigation” simply saves face, where the reality was a night of the long knives?



Isn’t it ironic?

There’s a slightly delicious irony in the fall-out from Sir Martin Sorrell’s departure from WPP.

In case you weren’t paying attention, Sir Martin was the biggest beast in jungle, having built his WPP empire from nothing to become the biggest group in the global advertising and communications business.  In the Spring he left WPP under a cloud after vague allegations and an investigation into ‘personal misconduct’.  There were juicy rumours and reports he had been seen entering a brothel in Shepherd’s Market – bit of a cliche, but still a good story, whether or not it was on company funds.

Very soon after, it emerged that Sir Marty was launching a new venture S4 Capital.


‘Why is that ironic?’ I hear you say.

Only because WPP, and The Martster in particular, were famously litigious in their enforcement of non-compete clauses when senior staff left the business.  When William Eccleshare left Y&R to become CEO of BBDO he was held to a year’s gardening leave.  Ditto Steve Blamer, who left Grey to join FCB.  When Y & R’s management team of James Murphy, Ben Priest and David Golding jumped ship to set up their new agency, Adam & Eve, they were pursued relentlessly through the courts and the new business was held on ice for a year.  And not just in the US and UK.  A host of others around the world were held to draconian contract terms including Michelle Hutton of Hill & Knowlton in Australia.

But one senior staffer seems to have had no non-compete clause.  Sir Martin himself.

It’s doubly noticeable, because his contract has been the subject of great controversy over the years, so presumably it has been pored over by the great and the good.

One rule for me.  Another for the plebs.

Wimbledon is upon us

I do love a good sporting trailer, but this Wimbledon animation by McCann London does nothing for me.  It’s all craft.  And wonderful craft too.  Credits:  Nexus Studios’ Smith & Foulkes – yes it’s dead clever animation.  But frankly, Sky Sports does it much better just by harnessing moments of passion and the noise of the crowd.

Close, but no cigar

The Football World Cup (I can’t bring myself to call it the FIFA World Cup, as we’re supposed to nowadays) should be a fantastic opportunity for brands. In particular, it’s a place to borrow the passion and energy of the thing we all get most excited about.  No, not street-fighting and British self-loathing; I’m thinking of the football.

In the past, Adidas had its moments but Nike was King of the World Cup ad – despite not being a sponsor – clever eh?  More recently Beats by Dr Dre has excelled.

But Beats’ new 2018 version is a big disappointment.  It has many of the elements: big names; check, cool track, check, flashbacks, flash forwards, check, underdog story; check …..etc and so on.  But no banana; you just don’t end up caring one way or the other.


There’s still time for someone to step in and save the day with a new blockbuster.  In the meantime, let’s just luxuriate in the sheer amazing-ness of the last Beats World Cup ad from 2014.



That’s better.