James Harkness, a director at internal communications agency Banner
McBride, tells me that the firm has moved into new offices in Drury
Unfortunately, on arrival, they found themselves a little too close to
the competition for comfort: rival outfit Smythe Dorward Lambert (SDL)
is based bang opposite.
Competition is very fierce, as the agencies are owned by rival media
giants. Banner McBride is part of WPP and SDL is owned by Omnicom.
’They can just about see into our offices and we can see into theirs,’
I suggest putting an account executive on permanent watch to keep tabs
on who the opposition are working for.
But Harkness says that may be unnecessary. While lunching with a client
at nearby restaurant Christophers on his first day at the new offices,
Harkness sat a few tables away from SDL chairman John Smythe, who was
with an executive from Lloyds TSB.
’We’re flattered that they needed to get so close to the Oracle,’ says
Smythe. He mentions a Peabody flat opposite his office where the
occupants like to peer in on his client meetings - with no clothes on.
’We deserve to be told if it’s them,’ he demands.