THE OFFICE PARTY

Wednesday 8 December 2010, 14:03

Adam Curtis Adam Curtis

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Here is a lovely documentary made in 1969 about that year's Christmas office party at a London advertising agency.

I've used shots from it in the past - but I've always loved it as a film - so I thought I would put it up.

It tells the story of the preparations as well as the party - and it beautifully captures the mood that Christmas parties always create in offices.

The firm is called Davidson Pearce Berry and Tuck. I did a bit of research on them and it turns out that the film also captures them at a fascinating moment of change.

The original agency had been around for years and had always done very straight Industrial advertising in trade magazines - aimed at buyers. Their biggest clients were firms like Colt Heating and Ventilation, Wates the builders, and Holman Compressed Air.

Not boutique.

But recently two very ambitious young advertising men had joined. One was called Norman Berry - who had come from Young and Rubicam, the other was called Allan Rich.

They were determined to turn the agency into what Mr Rich describes as "a sexy boutique agency". They were modelling themselves on the new kinds of American agencies that people like Mary Wells had set up in New York.

And they had just scored a great success. The firm had got the account of the Conservative Party and its new modern leader Edward Heath. They were going to do the advertising for the 1970 General Election.

Saatchi before Saatchi.

And they were changing the firm radically. The old patrician world of British advertising was being dismantled and by now much of it had gone from the agency.

The only real remnant of that old world in the film is Mary Crowley from Accounts (along with her unnamed friend from Wages). I love Mary Crowley, she is like a ghost from an older Britain haunting the new "on-trend" flash agency.

But that new world wouldn't last long. The firm would succeed with helping Edward Heath get elected. But very soon an economic crisis would hit Britain - and advertising too.

The firm was bought by the giant US agency, Ogilvy and Mather, and Norman Berry went off to America. And the old agency just faded away.

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    Comment number 21.

    Nice photos and video..we can see old style party.
    In my office..quartely we perform party..to create solid team. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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    Comment number 22.

    jesus christ avishalom, just watch the videos

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    Comment number 23.

    It is great to see my father just before the start of his wonderful adventure that was The Media Business which eventually floated and then was paid to revive the fortunes of Mediacom when TMBG took Mediacom over but kept the Mediacom name.

    I have no other real insight into my father. This allows me to look into the man that I don't know at all .. and begin to know him a little.

    If at all possible Adam I would like a copy of this. To know I can always access it, to be able to show his grand-children and one day mine.

    Many, many people owe their careers and hence in many ways their lives to him. Though they were all at one point his great and wonderful 'kids', they all in turn helped shape his.

    I was always on the outside of both families ... but I never really saw it then.

    Whilst not the point of the piece ... to have come to know Rich now, through him and his family, may have surprised you. He was caught completely ... and yet I would have guessed most looking would have thought him 'unreal'.

    He is very real ... and I can see more than ever ... he is wonderful.

    Thank you

    Jason

 

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