Paul Simons : the Kevin Roberts saga – never mind the row, buy the book!

The Kevin Roberts diversity saga continues with yet another story in today’s Times (4th August). In conversation a few days ago a few of us were speculating there is more to this than meets the eye. Now we know – a book!

He is launching a ‘glossy book about leadership and success’ called 64 Shots: Leadership in a Crazy World. Kevin’s PR has even managed to get a Kevin maxim – “Fail Fast, Fix Fast, Learn Fast” – into today’s story.

This brings back memories of the Simons Palmer merger with TBWA when Trevor Beattie out-PR’d us. Trevor did a walkout of the agency in protest on a Monday lunchtime, decamped to the agency pub – and most of the staff followed. What we didn’t know was what lay behind Trevor’s behaviour; a well orchestrated PR exercise conceived by Mark Borkowski, the PR for those with brave bones in their bodies.

This became THE story for weeks and Mark had also set up a series of articles in the broadsheets.

Mark is a big believer in the art of the publicity stunt.

This now all falls in to place! Kick off with swearing on the record, have a pop at a sensitive gender issue, have a go at a well known female flag waver for inequality in adland (Cindy Gallop), feed it to the business pages of the grown up newspapers, fulsome use of the Saatchi name and, bingo, more coverage than imagined for yet another book on how to be a success in business.

Kevin has now resigned, deciding not try to hang on until next year when he was due to retire.

This might be all a neat bit of post-rationalisation but I thought I could smell an intentional own goal; he is too smart to make such a schoolboy error. Given Kevin’s advertising career is ending, the book must be his next stage. What a way to promote it.

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About Paul Simons

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Paul joined Cadbury-Schweppes in brand management and then moved to United Biscuits. He switched to advertising in his late 20s, at Cogent Elliott and then Gold Greenlees Trott. He founded Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow & Johnson in the late 80s, one of the leading creative agencies of the 90s. Simons Palmer then merged with TBWA to create a top ten agency. Paul then joined O&M as chairman & CEO of the UK group. After three years he left to create a new AIM-quoted advertising group Cagney Plc. He is now a consultant to a number of client companies. Paul also shares his thoughts on his blog. Visit Paul Simons Blog.

One comment

  1. Avatar

    Paul…
    Now he can concentrate on his real love… Rugby… As I have posted many times on AdScam, he has used Saatchi as his personal bank to fund his five star life and travels to global rugby tournaments. Let’s hope his new book is not as abysmal as his last. Lovemarks, or as Shanghai61 describes it… “Skidmarks.”
    Cheers/George