This month’s irregular column may give the editor’s lawyers a few headaches. You see, I have had an encouraging week among the incubators and hatched several Black Shumens and a clutch of Croatian Dwarf Chickens for my master Lord Charlie McKelvey Of That Ilk. He has, therefore, graciously allowed me to write on a subject of my choice for this ‘Lovin’ Spoonful’ column.
How fervently I hope that he will not regret this decision.
Long, long ago and in a very different life I joined what was then, incontrovertibly, the UK’s finest direct marketing agency WWAV at its handsomely appointed HQ in a beautiful converted dairy, opposite the sumptuous Russian Orthodox Cathedral in swanky Bayswater. At that time, I was still married to the first Mrs Spooner, and by the time I left, I had married and divorced the second Mrs Spooner and then met the love of my life, The “real” Mrs Spooner. I mention this only to indicate the passage of time, like leaves blown from a calendar in a 1940s film.
As you may imagine, I have followed the progress of the agency since my departure with interest. Today Rapp (as it is now known) is undergoing yet another metamorphosis, to quote my esteemed editor himself: “A cost-cutting exercise initiated by Omnicom bosses in the US, and implemented by Rapp group chief executive Marco Scognamiglio.”
The article, anent the departure of my good friend Pete Mitchell, goes on to say: “It is believed the agency has met all its targets but the move is designed to ‘sweat’ more profits from the business. At least a dozen people have now left, across all departments.”
Though I must re-affirm that the views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the esteemed proprietor of this valuable online organ, I would very much like to say that this is one of the most depressing things I’ve heard in a fairly miserable week.
“The move is designed to “sweat” more profits from the business.” Hark as it resonates.
Why should we worry? Well, Rapp has always been a bit of a bellwether for the whole world of multi-channel marketing (as we’re encouraged to think of it these days) and if the Grand Panjandrums of Omnicom are looking to “sweat more profit” you can be damned sure that they won’t be the only ones.
As a creative partner at Tangible, I am obviously concerned to run an efficient and cost-effective department but good lord almighty! Let me quote two Rapp insiders:
“Rpp is propped up by pharma accounts and ruined by accountants”
“Omnicom used to leave us alone as long as one line stayed above the other.”
And there, I think, we have it.
How well I remember the vulpine incursions in the Bantam Shed at Lord McKelvey’s palatial Sussex estate in 2005, but how much sadder it is for Rapp (and many other businesses) that the fox in their particular chicken coop should be their own company’s accountants.
Jonathan Spooner is creative partner at Tangible