"Don't become another estate agent" says ad star
Advertising stars Marc Cave (left) and Malcolm Green, Green Cave People
The property world does not need any more Jewish entrepreneurs — the creative industries do. Such a sentiment is sounded by advertising big wig Malcolm Green, the former executive creative director of Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, the agency behind the famous Halifax television adverts.
Mr Green, who is one half of the newly formed boutique creative agency Green Cave People — he runs it with fellow industry heavyweight Marc Cave — says: “I don’t want them to become another estate agent. I love people that are in property but we don’t need more of them.
“This industry is brave and creative and the world sees what you do. I would love some more Jewish people to come into it and talk to the outside world.” He adds: “If on the back of this article, someone called up and had the balls, talent, passion, enthusiasm and said: ‘You go sit over there. I’ll show you what an agency should be now.’ I’d love that.”
Mr Cave and Mr Green are two of the advertising industry’s most successful players, with over five decades of experience between them.They are responsible for creating some of the world’s most familiar brands. Mr Cave is the brains behind famous campaigns including Tesco’s famous “Every Little Helps” relaunch, Stella Artois, Heineken and Coca-Cola’s Relentless drink, while Mr Green is the inventor of the Gary Lineker campaign for Walkers Crisps (still running after 18 years), the “Howard” campaign for Halifax Bank, the “Fresh” relaunch of Morrisons starring Denise Van Outen and the “Sex Lottery” campaign for the UK Government. He has launched society-changing new brands such as eBay; reinvented old ones: like Vauxhall Astra and Corsa, and accelerated entrepreneurial mid-sized ones like Charles Worthington.
In 2011 Mr Cave and Mr Green decided to combine their expertise — and unwaning passion and energy — to launch Green Cave People to provide “boutique” creativity for a select number of UK and international clients. Among them: B&Q, Balfour Beatty, Telenor, LexisNexis and Jewish Care. In fact, the duo have a long-standing working relationship with Jewish Care and created the charity’s award-winning short film, Pearls of Wisdom. They are keen to use their experience to help the Jewish community, which they believe struggles when it comes to raising its profile among the wider community.
He says: “I think we are more shy than other communities. We want to help the community assert itself, not in an aggressive way, but be open about what they do and contribute.
“We reminded people about Jewish Care, what they do, and brought it to the fore.”
Mr Green adds: “Non Jewish charities understand that advertising or marketing it an investment and there will be a return. But within our community, we don’t get that. We tend to like tangible things and assets. Jewish charities need to understand that they are not wasting donors’ money by advertising.”
But is it not hard for charities, many of them on limited budgets, to market themselves? “No it’s very easy. They are only limited by their own bravery,” says Mr Cave. “We have more choices today about who we work for and how we do it.
“We are not working with Jewish Care to make another fortune. Yes it’s a professional relationship but we make it possible for them. We wouldn’t do that for a great long list of charities.”
Mr Green adds: “It’s fantastic to have had a successful career in the industry but it’s great to be able to use your skills to give something back.” He continues: “Because of the ‘God-knows-how-many’ Halifax commercials that I did costing £1.4 million to make each time, I have a bit of currency with the firm we used.”
In fact, Mr Green and Mr Cave are likely to have a bit of “currency” with many firms given their track records.
Mr Green began his career as a messenger boy in an advertising agency, a stone’s throw away from the company’s Bond Street base.
Some 25 years on and he has won over 150 creative awards for more than 30 clients, and was one of a select group of “creatives” who had three of his campaigns voted into the UK’s Top 50 Ads of the 20th Century in a recent poll. He is the creator of the Gary Lineker campaign for Walkers Crisps. After making his name as a copywriter in leading global agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi, DDB and CDP, he became the youngest ever executive creative director of McCann Erickson.
He left McCann and co-founded DLKW. DLKW was sold to Creston plc and Mr Green joined Naked as head of creativity. He led 12 offices throughout the world, representing Adidas, Sony, Coca-Cola and Nokia, and others.
Mr Cave is an expert in creating new brands — his “Every Little Helps” relaunch of Tesco remains the most quoted marketing case study in business schools today, generating £27 of sales for every £1 spent of advertising. He was the strategist behind the advertising launch and ran the campaign for its first seven years in the UK and internationally.
A Campaign Magazine “Face to Watch”, Mr Cave became managing partner of Lowe Howard-Spink, a 250-person, £250 million advertising agency where, in addition to Tesco, he oversaw campaigns for Stella Artois, Smirnoff and HSBC.
He was promoted by Lowe Group founder Sir Frank Lowe and adopted several management positions including founding partner of Lowe Digital.
He left Lowe in 2001 to set up Drugstore, which developed innovative campaigns for British Airways, Channel 4, Jamie Oliver and Selfridges, among others. Drugstore was sold in 2008 — Mr Cave stayed with the firm until 2011 executive-producing feature-length documentaries for Relentless energy drink, co-created in a partnership with Coca-Cola.
Mr Cave and Mr Green acknowledge that the industry has changed significantly in their time, particularly in regards to attitude.
Mr Green says: “The agencies are ageist but at the younger lever. When I came into the industry there were 25 year old chief executives. If I ask 20-to-30 year olds today why they don’t run their own agency or become a creative director they say: ‘I’m only 29, I’m a baby’. When I was 21 I’d one every award going. It’s not their fault. It’s because we don’t give them the freedom. We want to start this company, get it going, and then give the thing away to them. We have no ego about it.
“We want to see more Jewish people and youngsters in the agency.”
But aren’t the younger generations going into the creative services? “Some are but too many aren’t,” says Mr Green. “Possibly because their schools and parents don’t understand it. Sometimes they do it as a statement and it doesn’t have to be that either.
“And when they do, it’s on a smaller level. Whereas in the US and France. it’s at a much larger level. I think the UK has always been a bit behind in our industry.
“The ambition is to be able to guide a group of young entrepreneurs in the industry who could take this and run with it. I’d like to hand it over, not the next level, but to the level underneath.”
So, what do they make of Errol Damelin’s Wonga and its aggressive advertising campaign? “I think what they have done is quite good,” says Mr Green. “They run the risk of being incredibly hated but I think they have kind of managed to get people not to hate them. Their adverts are good and it gives them a bit of credibility.”
As for other brands he rates, he cites John Lewis. “I love the stuff they are doing. Going into John Lewis is a great way of keeping your finger on the pulse. You can go in and see where people are gravitating to.”
But not everyone has John Lewis budgets to spend; what advice would they give to companies that are on a limited budget? “Imagine you have no budget,” says Mr Green. “Invest in creativity, not financially but be creative. Be bold, be brave, be provocative, but not just for the sake of it.”
Our job is to change people’s behaviour,” adds Mr Cave. “If there is one preconception about the advertising agency that I want to dispel, it’s about ‘spin’. We are not “Blairite spin doctors” — we sit with our clients and work out how they can improve things.”