BT’s marketing consultant Ed Carter physically struck Jeremy Miles, Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO board account director on BT’s 80m account, in an extraordinary disagreement over strategy,
Carter, a six foot five inch, 17-stone American, made contact with Miles while, ironically, the latter was defending AMV.BBDO’s latest version of its “It’s good to talk” campaign featuring actor Hugh Laurie.
Carter, who has enormous influence within BT, has been employed by the company for the past two years and has spearheaded some of its most aggressive promotional work including the successful Friends & Family campaign. He has worked for several leading telecommunications companies around the world, including BT’s US partner MCI, and is known to favour a “hard sell” strategy.
The ad over which the pair were arguing is aimed at enhancing the BT brand, rather than promoting direct benefits to consumers.
Agency insiders describe Carter as a formidable individual both physically and intellectually, and he is known to be verbally aggressive in his dealings both with agency and BT staff.
“Carter is a man who has strong opinions about his work. There’s nothing wrong with that. To a large degree the whole debate about whether it should be Carter’s direct marketing work or AMV’s brand work is misleading. The real point is that BT’s best interests lie in an approach which combines both strategies,” says AMV.BBDO chief executive Michael Baulk.
BT is the agency’s flagship account and this year it is likely to be the biggest single advertising account in the UK.
A spokeswoman for Carter says he is abroad. The office of BT managing director personal communications Stafford Taylor’s says he has no comment about the incident.