David MillerAt last week’s Marketing Excellence Awards Scotland, Frame scooped the prestigious Marketing Services Company of the Year award following an auspicious year, which saw the agency capture accounts from both McEwan’s and sandwich food chain Subway.
Back in October, Frame announced the appointment of David Miller as MD due to company expansion, and chairman Alan Frame being forced to spend more time away from the day-to-day running of the office.
Miller, originally from Glasgow, has spent most of his career working abroad, having moved to Asia in 1984 where he held key management positions for Leo Burnett, Wieden+Kennedy and J.Walter Thompson as MD over a period of around ten years. He continued his travels, moving to work as MD of Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam for around seven years before his recent move back to Scotland to work with Frame.
Miller begins by explaining his reasons for returning to Scotland as MD of Frame: “Alan and I had been talking for maybe six years or so,” he says. “We had an idea of what an agency would look like. I was definitely going to come over, but it was just really a case of when would be a good time.
“I had been very lucky to work for some great agencies but I really wanted ownership of my own destiny. It was just that time in my life where I’d been over seas, I’d worked for a big company and I wanted to do something where I had a real kind of sense of controlling my own destiny.”
Another of Miller’s reasons for returning to Scotland was to find some stability for his family, allowing his two daughters to go to school in Glasgow.
“I’ve been away from Scotland, which I’m a big fan of, for a long, long time, and even though it sounds a bit naff to say it, the timing was just right, and everything fell into place.”
He continues: “I’m coming in at an interesting time, I just want to build on some of the respect the agency already has. I think that the big news for us recently was winning the Subway contract. It’s a big deal and an enormous company. We’re charged with the brand UK-wide.
“We’re shooting the first brand spot at the minute, that’s going to look terrific, it’s very exciting. We’ve also got people like Gala Group - we’ve been working with them for a long time.”
Miller explains his own hopes for the future of Frame, saying: “What we want to do is to build the agency into a powerful agency by anyone’s standards. It’s a British agency. I want to work in a market of sixty million people, which is what we’ve got in the UK. We’ll be a regional agency based in Glasgow, but I’d like to be working with clients anywhere – Scottish clients, Glasgow, Edinburgh, but also Manchester and Liverpool too. Already, because Gala and Subway are so large - and we’ve got a couple of other things on the boil - maybe about 85 percent of our business is already south of the border.
“I want to be a part of building a really powerful force in advertising in the UK, a creative force, a strategic force, that is - a really powerful agency where people come in and learn things, enjoy themselves and do good things in advertising. It’s not all about money, we’re pretty much all about the experience. I think there is an opportunity in Britain for a very good regional agency. There are, of course, already other regional agencies out there. I want to build a terrific agency. We’ve got the ability and the dynamism to do it.”
Miller continues by talking about the alterations that might be made at Frame as a result of his appointment, saying that he feels there are a few necessary changes to be made.
“What we’ll be doing is a lot of strengthening. We want to make sure that we have a genuinely powerful wealth of creative talent in the agency and it may well be that we change the way that the creative department is shaped just now.
“We want to make it a little bit more holistic where ideas do, pretty much, come from anywhere. I’m not saying if you get a creative brief you give it to the finance guys, nothing ridiculous. I think we want to ensure that we have a structure, that taps into what everybody can provide. I’ve seen already some of the stuff that we’re working on, but there are some terrific ideas from people who generally aren’t involved in the process, so I want to make sure that it’s holistic. I want to make sure that people feel engaged. We want to make people feel that they are part of the agency’s success. I’m not talking money – I’m talking about experience and learning.”
Miller continues by explaining the working relationship that he and Alan Frame have developed, and of the ideas and plans that the two have made in developing Frame following Miller’s appointment.
He said: “I’ve known him [Alan] for about six years and the reason that I decided to do this with him is that we talk the same way about what we would like a terrific agency to look like. We talk the same way about how we would like to work with clients and we talk the same way about what type of clients we would like to work with - as not every client is going to be suitable for us.
“We talked about how we would want to manage people, how we would bring them on and how we would want to reward them and how we would like the experience to be. There was a huge number of similarities. I dare say there are differences, and we’ll argue, but overall, our philosophy’s the same and there’s a huge, shared level of trust.”
Miller has worked closely with the Subway contract and explained his own thoughts as to why Frame was chosen as the agency to develop the food chain’s profile in the UK.
He says: I think what we presented to Subway made a lot of business sense. We’re so deep into their business already that we understand wholly how the thing works. And we’re able to go in with them and we’re able to talk about how to build their business, how to increase custom into the stores and the kind of promotions we want to run. We talked about pricing, we talked about in-store design, and everything about their business and I think that’s what they really liked. At the end of it, we also talked about building the brand and the advertising, but I think what we were able to do was get down to the nuts and bolts of the business and they felt that we were a smart agency and that we could be a good partner to them going forward, providing good advice. They felt that we were able to get our fingers dirty and really dig in. They liked the fact that we gave them a point of view and we made it clear that we wanted to be able to present a point of view, to be able to argue for things that we thought were right and act in the way that real partners do. I think last of all, a lot of the work presented to them was absolutely terrific.
“I know now that having worked a little bit with Gala it’s very much the same. We’re all over the casinos. We know how the people think, we know what they drink, what kind of games they play. We know where they live, we know what kind of food they like and I guess that gives us real credibility. I would like to think that we’re really approachable and down to earth.”
Miller describes the admiration he has for advertising agencies in Scotland, saying that he now believes that they are able to compete on the world stage, and that he is confident that Scotland has the creative talent within it’s agencies to deliver for big name clients.
“I understand that there are some terrific agencies in Scotland, which I think is a really good thing as the tougher the competition, then the better we have to be. I’m very proud to be part of the Scottish advertising industry. But we won’t spend time thinking about what others are up to and spend more time on what we’re up to. I feel that it’s a great thing that there are good, strong agencies out there in Scotland. So we need to make sure we’re doing our bit properly to keep up with them, and hopefully we can be the best. If you don’t want to be the best you shouldn’t be in this business.”
Miller is impressed by the “smart, clever and creative people” that he has met since returning to Scotland, and is pleased that he is part of an agency looking to develop, and promote these talent to clients. All the industry has to do now is meet these perceptions and spread the word.