Will ‘Hamish the Hammer’ McLennan smash production houses?
The production community has little reason to feel optimistic about the arrival of Hamish “the Hammer” McLennan at Ten, an adland commentator has suggested.
In a column for the Australian Financial Review, Rowan Dean – former executive creative director of Euro RSCG – points to how McLennan masterminded the creation of WPP production house Plush, a move which coincided with “numerous independent production companies closing their doors”. Dean said that McLennan’s adland nickname was “Hamish the Hammer”.
McLennan was named as the new boss of Ten after James Warburton was ousted on Friday.
Ten is currently a heavy commissioner of independent production companies for their TV content. Its shows include Can Of Worm, Bondi Rescue and the forthcoming Shock Of The Now from Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder; Offspring and Puberty Blues from Southern Star; MasterChef and The Biggest Loser from Shine; Neighbours from FremantleMedia and The Project from Roving Enterprises. Unlike rival network Seven, Ten currently creates little of its non-news output in-house.
In the AFR article, Dean tells how McLennan led three WPP agencies – Y&R, JWT and Singleton Ogilvy & Mather – in the creation of their own production house, Plush. It meant that instead of the usual model where ad agencies commission a production house to make an ad, the cash stayed within WPP. Plush closed its doors in 2011, long after McLennan had departed to the US. Dean refers to one producer who said that Plush “decimated parts of the business”.
However, one difference between the TV and advertising model is that the production companies often own the formats of the international shows they are commissioned to make.
Mumbrella could not reach McLennan for comment at the time of posting. In an interview given by McLennan over the weekend, the new Ten boss said “Everything is up for grabs”.