98% Pure Potato: The Origins of Advertising Account Planning

By John Griffiths and Tracey Follows

The story of how account planning began, told by its pioneers

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Lunch with John Bartle

Tracey and I had lunch with John Bartle last week - he has agreed to write the foreword much to our delight. And last Thursday was our opportunity to quiz him about his background in planning. You'll know him because of the agency he founded: Bartle Bogle Hegarty  one of the great international agencies that has sustained its reputation for great creative work and effectiveness.  What you may not know is that John started TBWA's first planning department long before that. And that he was a research manager at Cadburys before that when a certain Stanley Pollitt started to talk about a new function called the planning department. This in the days before Boase Massimi Pollitt was even thought of. And with a roster of agencies working for Cadburys what difference it made when the first ever planners started to come to client meetings. John talked to us about the kinds of research which were being done at the time and how agencies used or challenged these. I hadn't realised that it was British advertising agencies who brought market research to the UK and stayed heavily involved in its development.  We are very privileged to have John's support and encouragement for this project. And I hope this makes it clear that we are bringing perspectives into the book which have not yet found their way into print. 

And if you haven't spotted it yet in yesterday's Guardian Tracey was writing about the Cannes Advertising Festival and asking when the pendulumm will swing back from technology towards the people for whom advertising is made.  A theme that is all the clearer from the people we have spoken to as we put the book together. I have just finished Faris Yacob's new book Paid Attention and bumped into Faris who is over from New York this week. We are committed to ensuring that the book is not a history book but related to the issues we face in making communications today. 

And a stop press -  we are getting very close to the manuscript deadline but there's now a date in the diary next week to speak to Jeremy Bullmore of J Walter Thompson the 'twin' who worked alongside Stephen King to put the account planning concept together.  So we continue to build on the original interviews to add further dimensions to the book. Hang in there - we're going to make it!   

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