Murphy and Golding – we may not have a creative partner in our new agency

To 76 Dean Street, Soho, where adam&eveDDB co-founders James Murphy (CEO) and David Golding (CSO) were departing for new pastures – specifically a year’s gardening leave but then a new agency.

Among the pearls offered up was Murphy’s (or was it Golding’s) speculation that, while most of London adland is wondering who their creative partner will be (top tip a woman) they may not have one. Murphy and Golding are a formidable pitch team on their own. They may have been joshing, of course.

But, back in the day, account man extraordinaire Frank Lowe set up Lowe Howard-Spink with planner Geoff Howard-Spink and built a formidable creative reputation before selling to Interpublic.

Here they are with partners Ben Priest and Jon Forsythe discussing yet another Agency of the Year award (Campaign’s in 2014.) A&E won ours twice and it could easily have been more.

They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and Murphy spent some time recalling the fractious early days of the agency when their old employer WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell tried to sue them out of existence for allegedly trying to poach Y&R clients. This was contested and an agreement eventually reached, after incurring nearly £1m of legal costs.

Things looked grim for the partners who, said Murphy, repaired gloomily to a branch of Costa after yet another inconclusive pitch meeting. Then the phone rang: “it’s Phones4U (then a big high street operator) and you’ve won the business.” The next day it was John Lewis. Can anyone recall a John Lewis ad before adam&eve?

Third founding partner creative director Ben Priest recalled showing the never-satisfied Golding ‘The Long Wait,’ arguably the best of a very distinguished John Lewis bunch. Everyone else was probably wiping away the tears when Golding said: “what are we going to do next year?”

Laurels are not to be rested on. Can the duo do it again? Fortified by Omnicom’s buy-out millions they just might.

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About Stephen Foster

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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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