Below the line is not beneath ad agencies

It’s interesting that David Benady’s article on advertising agency management (MW last week) seemed to take quite an insulting tone when suggesting that adland might have to recruit bosses from below-the-line. How dreadful! What has the world come to?

Furthermore, when pointing to FCB’s hiring of Nigel Jones, the article revealed that he had “agency” experience having worked at what was DDB London – phew, that’s a relief, because his time as chief executive at Claydon Heeley Jones Mason probably isn’t relevant to his new job.

I think FCB and other agencies could do a lot worse than hiring from below the line. The reason? Because direct marketers have always been viewed by above-the-liners as the poor relations, and consequently have had to fight that little bit harder. While some ad agencies could be criticised for becoming complacent, integrated below-the-line agencies have gone from strength to strength, adapting to the significant change we are experiencing in today’s fragmented media landscape. Moreover, you don’t see many below-the-line agencies leaderless. Why is that?

Lisa Thomas

Chief executive and co-founder

LIDA

London W1

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