Back in the day, when I was a spotty teenager on work experience at the Bolton Evening News (bet you’d forgotten that I was from Up North hadn’t ya?) I remember old Cyril, a gnarled, hard-faced, bitter and twisted hack giving me his life advice: “Use yer loaf, luv, yer can’t make an omelette wi’out crackin’ a few eggs.”
To those of you unfamiliar with the dialect – or even the Napoleon Bonaparte origins of these wise words – basically, he wanted me to realise that life as a journalist was not all free slap-up lunches, Christmas hampers and Champagne. Nope, most of the time it’s virtually impossible to get a decent story without upsetting someone.
Quite what Cyril would make of my Decision Marketing musings is anyone’s guess; his hard-drinking, chain smoking antics saw him off years ago, but his words have stayed with me.
And so it was with some curiosity that earlier this week I opened a large flat box delivered by courier from the Unlimited Group, complete a massive heart-shaped Millie’s cookie and icing that read: “Where’s the love?”
The accompanying note explained: “We saw your latest story about Unlimited was a little negative. Could we catch up for a coffee when you’re next in London so we can understand why?”
Apparently, they were rather upset at our take on the merger of Prophecy Unlimited and Direction Group Unlimited with TMW Unlimited.
In particular, it appears that what upset them the most was that we declined to copy and paste the press release word for word like other publications and instead we did our job.
Of course, what they really wanted us to write was this: “The agency will operate with specialist divisions consisting of creatively-led integrated B2C marketing, full stack B2B marketing and best-in-class activation. The joining of the agencies will create an environment of seamless integration for clients and deliver creative solutions that focus on the entire customer experience.” My bad.
To be honest, initially I thought the cookie might be poisoned but my esteemed bosses Fatty and Fatter were soon re-enacting the Feast of Bacchus, stuffing down order no: 000237468 if it were their last meal.
All of which means that I have rather bad news for the Unlimited Group – and anyone else for that matter, who wants sympathetic coverage – my bosses are now demanding I get even nastier.
And if I don’t get them free slap-up lunches, Christmas hampers and Champagne, I’ve got about as much chance of surviving here as a warm pasty-barm has in the Bolton Evening News newsroom…