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Episode Four: St. Louis Cardinals
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Boase Massimi Pollitt was founded in 1968 in London by Martin Boase and nine other executives who left Pritchard Wood & Partners. Only Cadbury followed the executives to their upstart agency.
One of BMP's founders, Stanley Pollitt, is usually credited as the father of account planning, which he had introduced to Pritchard Wood in 1965. Mr. Pollitt's account planning skills attracted clients and served as a selling point for the agency, which was noted for its democratic approach to client handling.
Founder Gabe Massimi left BMP in 1971, and the sudden death of Mr. Pollitt following a heart attack in 1979 dealt a major blow to the agency.
Creative efforts played a major role in building the agency, whose most notable campaigns include the 1973 Lipsmackin'thirstquenchin'acetastin'motivatin'goodbuzzin'cool-talkin'highwalkin'fastlivin'evergivin'coolfizzin'Pepsi" campaign on British TV.
A year later the agency created one of the most memorable lines in British advertising history for Cadbury's Smash brand of instant potatoes in an ad that featured robotic Martians poking fun at Earthlings, who mashed their potatoes when they could have had instant ones. The tagline was "For mash get Smash." Other campaigns have included Volkswagen's "Affordability"; PG Tips' tea's famous chimps; and beverage marketer John Smith's, with the "Follow the Bear" campaign for its Hoffmeister brand.
In 1983, BMP went public as a $45 million business, with every employee receiving shares. At the same time the agency's client list and reputation for witty copywriting and creative messages grew. Work for the Greater London Council in 1984 resulted in the "Say No to No Say" campaign against abolition of the council.
The agency's work for the British newspaper The Guardian brought it in 1987 the Epica d'Or Award, given by the European advertising trade press in recognition of creative production in European advertising.
In 1989, BMP, with annual billings of $270 million, found itself under siege by French agency BDDP, which owned a 15% stake and was offering $178.5 million for the remainder of the agency. BMP negotiated a $187.5 million white-knight agreement with the U.S.-based Omnicom Group. The 1990s provided continued growth and success, with award-winning campaigns for Volkswagen and Reuters, which became a client in 1997. In 1999, BMP DDB also won the Bentley account.
In 2001, BMP DDB ranked No. 16 in the U.K., with gross income of $72.6 million, down 17.9% over the previous year's income, on billings of $711.8 million.
BMP DDB was rebranded DDB London in January 2004 when DDB agencies around the world dropped their local names for a single DDB brand.