Former Cadbury marketing director Phil Rumbol (Mr Gorilla) and three refugees from Fallon UK, Laurence Green, creative Richard Flintham and designer Mark Elwood, have revealed a little about their eagerly-awaited new agency.
It’s going to called 101 (which comes as something of a relief after some of the odd names and even worse spelling we’ve had to deal with recently) and will help clients to become “more charismatic, human and entrepreneurial.”
Well not much there to disagree with.
So will Rumbol and the former Fallonites succeed on the back of their rather slim manifesto?
On paper it looks a strong team, Rumbol has a big reputation in the business and not just for the Cadbury’s Gorilla ad. Prior to that he was at Whitbread which used to own Stella Artois and Sir Frank Lowe, then head of Stella’s agency Lowe Howard-Spink, has described him as the best client in the business.
Old hands will say that’s because he agreed with Frank a lot but Lowe knows whereof he speaks.
Surprisingly perhaps, there aren’t that many examples of marketing directors swapping sides and becoming brilliant agency entrepreneurs. There’s a world of difference between encouraging others to come up with good ideas, and then picking the best of them, and producing the pesky things yourself. And senior marketers aren’t usually content just to go to an agency and be a suit.
So a lot depends on the contribution of messrs Green, Flintham and Elwood. Their record at Fallon was good and it’s still a bit of a mystery why they quit so suddenly. Was it because of the fallout from the notorious Cadbury’s Flake ‘devil’ ad that never ran?
Shortly afterwards the account left Fallon to go into Saatchi Fallon (no, I’m not sure exactly what the difference is either). Rumbol left Cadbury too but that’s believed to be because he didn’t want to go to work in Zurich, European HQ of Cadbury’s new owner Kraft.
But 101 can take some confidence from the fortunes of Adam & Eve, a breakaway from RKCR/Y&R which has won golden opinions from all and sundry, including winning both Campaign and Marketing’s agency of the year awards, for its sound work on clients like John Lewis.
The first real clue to their chances will be the first client. It really needs to be a big one, not a charity or a tiny bit of the Virgin empire (Virgin likes to appoint new agencies who are more eager for kudos than money).