A trail of emails, seen by The Drum, give real insights into how Vision & Media's controversial Resign London campaign came into being.
The Drum has seen a series of emails which have been sent between members of the Steering Group V&M set up to develop the project which was made up of North West agencies.
The communications suggest that this steering committee felt that they were not properly consulted about plans to launch the £30,000 Resign London drive, which meant they were reluctant to support it when the campaign went live.
In an initial email to this group, informing them that the campaign was being dropped V&M head Enda Carey had wrote, “The Steering Group agreed to a marketing campaign to help attract senior level talent to the region, particularly those who may have left the area earlier in their careers for job opportunities in London.
“With the help and support of the Steering Group we set a brief, shortlisted and chose the agency to develop and deliver the campaign.
“This was always going to be the most controversial element of the programme and risked alienating some of the existing high calibre talent in the region.
“As you are aware this campaign came under fire when it was launched in the region and this agency in particular bore the brunt of considerable criticism.
“It was always the intention that this was a campaign by industry on behalf of industry and this is why the Steering Group were asked to lend their full support and backing.
“Unfortunately, we have not had this backing, and therefore made the decision to pull, or at least for the foreseeable future postpone any further promotion of the campaign.
“I personally feel this is a shame, particularly given the importance which the Steering Group placed upon this issue.”
The statement prompted a series of responses and we publish some extracts here. We have decided not to reveal the identities of the authors.
The first email The Drum saw was addressed directly to Carey, and refuted some of the assertions made in his missive:
I strongly disagree with your reasoning behind the withdrawal of the “Resign London” campaign.
The campaign received heavy criticism over the quality of the final creative and I don’t believe any amount of “support” from the steering group could have changed that after the event.â€¨
I’m sure we all wanted the group to achieve more and take it personally that we didn’t drive any major change. V&M needs to take its own share in this episode and move on.
The rest of the emails were circulated to the group as a whole and give real insights into the decision making process, and clues as to what might have gone wrong.
Email Number 1
â€¨â€¨I had been relatively vocal on not quite getting the concept from the start, and as we felt we needed to get the wheels moving I organised a meeting to flesh out some ideas.
At that meeting it was clear that we felt a ‘nick Londoners’ campaign would be detrimental, and make the North West look like we needed London’s help to succeed.
We came up with a strategy to begin some form of design version of ‘In the City’ which being in the music biz previously is renowned as a world stage for the music industry or Edinburgh and it’s attachment to comedy.
Whilst we know 30k wouldn’t run an event, it would have certainly begun something that we could have built on. We had our meeting, in our own time and submitted our findings.
We came away feeling a good meeting was had. The next I personally heard was when I was forward a Brief that was to be sent out for tender.
I assumed they would pull us in to review the submissions? Did this happen? If so I didn’t see the email. I was a bit miffed that the time and effort we had put in somehow excluded us from the creative work, I thought could have been the payoff for our time as a whole group.
I think that the work we did was somewhat discounted and the plan/idea that had been at the very beginning (target London talent) was kept.
Even though the steering group I was in had suggested this wasn’t great and would be detrimental.â€¨â€¨
I’m not going to comment on the final execution as I think that blaming the work is an easy way out of the situation. I just wonder that if any of the words and ideas that had been discussed had ever been taken into account?”
Email Number 2
I have had an email sitting in my drafts on this topic, trying to work out how to make it feel more positive.
We struggled to rally support; we convened a meeting from which I drew up a brief and circulated. The next I saw/ heard was the campaign produced. I felt it was a real shame not to have been involved in the presentations or the debate around the campaign – this is what we do day in day out and think is where the steering committee could have added significant value.
Email Number 3
It's actually reassuring to hear that I'm not the only one who felt slightly left out.
I had assumed it was just because I wasn't based close to Manchester so, having struggled to make the first couple, I'd therefore not been invited to short notice meetings.
The first I heard of the campaign was the preview email from Tony (Tickle) followed by some pressure to make statements of support, the suggested wording.
The steering group is made up of agencies in the north west including Amaze, Uniform, Home-James, BJL, Smiling Wolf, Rippleffect, Code Computerlove, IAS and Soap Media.