Stanley Pollitt was in the BMP pub one evening after work.
The head-of-art was there too.
They were discussing Dave Christensen.
Dave was then a junior art director, and he’d just been fired by the creative director, Gabe Massimi.
Stanley was furious.
He thought Dave was young and talented and it wasn’t fair.
Stanley began telling the head-of-art that he should have taken better care of Dave, looked after him more.
The head of art said something along the lines of, “Don’t fucking tell me what I should have done. It’s your fucking agency. You did fuck-all to stop it you fucking hypocrite.”
In the circs, this wasn’t a smart thing to say.
The circs being:
1) Cold refreshment had been liberally taken.
2) Stanley looked like a tubby, bald old duffer, but he’d been a boxing blue at Cambridge.
So Stanley hauled off and gave the head-of-art what we used to call a fourpenny one.
The head-of-art cartwheeled across the floor of the pub.
And, almost without stopping, picked himself up and ran out the door.
Stanley went back to his drink.
Shortly after, the head-of-art left the agency.
Gabe Massimi got fired.
And Dave Christensen was un-fired, and went on to win lots of awards.
That was definitely one way to run an agency.
Although not the one Stanley is more famous for.
However, another believer in this school of management was Kerry Millett.
Kerry was head of creative services at GGT.
She also used to sing in some of the roughest pubs in south east London.
In fact Kerry was from a very tough estate in Bermondsey.
Briefly, you didn’t mess with Kerry.
One evening there was an agency party.
Lots of drinking, loud music, flashing lights, everyone dancing.
One of our art directors was going out with Kerry’s secretary.
He’d had a few drinks and he was having a row with her, on the dance floor.
One thing led to another and, for some reason, he slapped her.
Kerry had been watching this.
She walked onto the dance floor and knocked the art director out.
He went down like a sack of spuds.
Two of the other creatives went onto the dance floor and carried him off.
Kerry came back rubbing her knuckles.
She picked up her drink and said, “I don’t like blokes hitting women.”
That’s how Kerry ran the creative services department.
Tony Brignul was a creative director at CDP.
He was also a superb copywriter.
And a published poet.
Tony won more D&AD pencils than any other copywriter.
In short, Tony took copywriting very seriously.
One day an account man came back from the client and handed Tony a piece of paper.
It was Tony’s copy, with some parts scratched out and changed.
Tony said, “What’s this?”
The account man said, “The client had one or two problems, so I’ve rewritten a few bits. I think it’s an improvement.”
And Tony knocked him out.
But Tony was a sensitive man.
And he began to wonder if he’d been too harsh.
The account man had made a mistake, but he was only doing his job.
Tony began to feel bad.
So he went to see the account man, and he apologised.
He said, although the account man was wrong to change the copy, he felt he’d overreacted.
The account man accepted the apology.
Then he said he did however think he’d been right to change the copy.
His version was much better than Tony’s original.
So Tony knocked him out again.