WPP chuffed with Omnicom travails, BBH puts its hopes in Lafferty and BBC’s Today goes girl hunting

***A happy man tonight will be Sir Martin Sorrell, boss of WPP.

He’s seen Omnicom slashing jobs at BBDO, after Interpublic’s McCann the world’s biggest agency network, following the loss of $300m Gillette to WPP’s Grey.

More than that, he’ll see Omnicom boss John Wren’s reliance on his three big creative agency networks – BBDO, DDB and TBWA – and lack of a branded digital option as last year’s solution to today’s problems.

The Sorrell formula of offering bespoke agency teams within WPP for mega-clients seems, at last, to be working. It didn’t for Omnicom and Goodby Silverstein with GM’s Chevrolet.

So, this week anyway, it’s one up to SMS.

*** I see that BBH has hired former McCann North America COO Patrick Lafferty (left) as its new boss in the US. We didn’t write about this at the time because BBH didn’t see fit to send us a press release about it. The only time they ever did communicate any news was when my colleague Stuart Smith broke the story that their deal with Neogama in Brazil had broken down (which resulted in Publicis Groupe buying the whole of BBH). Then there were comms from BBH clogging up the ether.

But let’s not grouse. Is Lafferty any good? Will he provide the stable management and account handling expertise in the US BBH so clearly needs? Well they know about account handling at McCann so let’s hope so.

***When Tony Hall dragged himself back from the Royal Opera House to be director-general of the BBC one of the first things he tried to deal with was the BBC’s attitude to girls – no, not the Jimmy Savile-like excesses but the shortage of gels (of a certain age) in key journalistic jobs. He mentioned the flagship Today Programme on Radio 4.

Since Tony took up residence in Broadcasting House Sarah Montague (left), one of five regular Today presenters, has been on every day it seems – even getting to do big interviews, which were previously consigned to blokes like John Humphrys.

And a jolly good thing too. But poor old Sarah must be knackered. And because she’s on every day poor old James Naughtie never gets a look in. Jim might ask the longest questions in broadcasting (after football pundit Garth Crooks) but he’s a good sort.

There’ll be another gal soon but who? Joan Bakewell (left), just turned 80, would be a way of killing two birds with one stone.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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