Universal McCann Worldwide, Inc.

Universal McCann Worldwide, Inc.
2007 – 2008

Last update: NOV 1st ’21
+ a strikethrough 14th July ’22.

One of the most effective ways to gather data & information about a targeted group of organisations is by infiltrating its ranks. This is the job of the spyє.

I remember the first creative director who kindly gave me a job for £80 a day fresh outta the dispatch; Paul, he was an arsehole; “Awight Dave, loving ya own werk again … ?” He would say, with a smug slap across his mug; while he continued to design cigarette packs, or throw jobs for a battery hen prison at me. But when we had pints infront of us, the love was there. 


I lost the role eventually, but I liked the MD; Matt. Only because he was a boozy nail-biting son of a bitch, with an innocent smile, good manners; but would scare the shit out of other freelancers when we turned up like a drunken gang ready to destroy the office we all loathed to come back to on sunny afternoons in Farringdon. One time a fat volley to a pint glass in a sudden fit of alcoholic rage; the freelancers eyes showered in fear and terror of this mad man in suited honest intentions to bring this whole nightmarish job to an everlasting day off. 


The other fella, Hugh; this tall & heavyweight joker kept me sane at most eye poisoning of times with his piss reaping funnies. It was like a charming large blonde bouncer was in the room at all times. Bullying us all in fine equal jest. 


They called themselves the three amigos; …
I wanted to run or just gun them all down.


I loved the Clerkenwell’s brickish spooky charm in the summer nights; an awight place to begin my first steps with industrial espionage in Londonderry for a Foyle like me; it was no Oak Grove thouwh I tell ye. Vita Veritas Victoria “Life, Truth, Victory” was never really found in the nine to five hours. But many pubs, clubs and a large selection of filthy advertising agencies to plunder on route to the furthest lights becamethf of thy skull & bones. The harks & ravers; ravens ready to be misbehaving at Fabric or a hell host of well listed dark haunts. I had already drowned in thems drunken sounds; that sweet bloodye nectar to the freaks, fruit bats & back. From Friday to Sunday that place was like a trippy last stand of the otherworld; nightcity parties. I would spend many of those times pulling the client roster out in my rage-filled thoughts & flicking matches as the wordmarks reeled off in my minds rhymes. It was as if everyone was still in bed; with the logotypes or reptiles I dunno;

but that is how I felt at agencies; Riding the backs of reptiles. I had no mercy for corporate lies before I even lost my virginity. I was a clued up kid & wanted to drop every brand name on the lips of babes; even at my early days at the raves. Eventually they all shut down, The End; a few blocks away was a main vein, others I would have shot up in happily under the rest of redlight. 


The Jerusalem Tavern; a 90’s pub in a 1720 building was a stone skippy away from the first second agency I infiltrated; Universal McCann. The walk from Farringdon station every morning was always a yawning drag; in an insomniacs rising patch. I enjoyed my early days in the industry but I think I look back remembering the worst of the later years. I have vivid memories of the whisky Walker under that St. John’s Gate arch, across to Clerkenwell road & into the square. The tired groans of winter, the frost on the cobbles; the cigarettes for breakfast. Some days I wanted to crawl straight back into the pub, but more often I would just drag on a joint ends from the nights before. 

Arriving stoned to work was easy at that time as I was working with a geeza; Jay O’Máille, who I adored, the first real legend I had met in the working world, I was young; still a bit wet behind the tears of rage; & fearing any kind of work with all my bones. We clicked, or at least I clocked in at his serve in the dispatch room of UM. We were runners, Jay had been there for many years at that point and kinda secretly was the real one who ran the agency from the arse end of the nest or from the boozer next door. I hadn’t even heard, barely knew who the fucking agency was at that point; or the history that would come to be despised by folks like me in glorious corporate portraits like MadMen. I first read about the history of advertising in a book, I threw away before I could remember the name; that revealed the 50’s onwards faces & shames that had been through the gaff. We made the most of those myths, Jay was on daywatch during the casual flow of Colombia’s first world fine trades to the upper echelons of respondents regularly; bare in signs of trade that Jay was not a middle man or some busy waiter to the nose of CEOs, they were just too lazy to drop the building’s dogs a courtesy; ‘A package has arrived’ – a chappy would arrive to dispatch, which was laced with smokers at the back of the building – it was Marlboro hunting, where I would meet the next chairman in this story; Ravi. 


No; Ravi was not the dealer or a humble drug taker, & not just a tech lead working upstairs – a cool cat from Mother India, his vice was the cigarette as well; but no doubt he would join in with a cheeky spliffy puffie on the offer, but in the end he got me the first. After 5 months in dispatch with Jay I was up on the top floors working the desks I had previously only seen in glimpses when delivering the morning post with the trolly. After a few weeks I would be missing the simple duties & licking stamps, but it was progress on the path to being the one to bring down the whole establishment; a mission statement I will probably fork down many times on this trail; a greedy rat or pig whatever I was a determined motherfucker with no mercy for the corporate agenda; the strangest thing was that no one else really had any praise for it either; a truth I found to be the same, the world over. Long before a post-truth of post anything had become a bloody mass media hype meme for well-established liers to use as one-way ticket to the lower thermal realms of corporeal DOOM or TV junkies suddenly reaping the revelations of a No Future paradigm. I was already well into my post-apocalyptic story.        


I spent many post-work evenings or pre afternoon long hails hauling through thoughts of reflection & recliner wishing abandoned dreams. Wondering how the game would roll my dice, how to make it paradiçe, make good & leave a smashed window of perception upon those walls of corporate nake & lame that had poisoned our skies, stolen our lands & left the seas full of dead things. I slammed down a pint glass many times along those lines in mind.

I entered the agencies
as a smiley street Fox;
& gave notice,
as a hardwired
& feared




Leading Elephants through Arcadia
The debut book & street rat autobiography by David Araeva


UM was established in 1999 as part of McCann Worldgroup, but its roots go back to 1902 when Alfred Erickson founded Erickson Company.[3] Harrison King McCann’s agency, founded in 1912, evolved independently from Erickson’s. In 1930, H.K. McCann Company and Erickson Company merged to form McCann Erickson, a $15 million agency with Erickson as its chair and McCann as its president.[3] After winning the Ford Motor Company account in 1933, the agency continued to acquire agencies and accounts including Coca-Cola.[4] By 1957, McCann Erickson was the first US agency to top $100 million annually in TV and radio billings. Marion Harper, who replaced McCann as President-CEO in 1948, went on to create Interpublic Group in 1960, as the first marketing services management holding company.[5] In 1971, Interpublic Group went public as IPG, and by 1972 was the largest agency in non-US billings.[6] Today, IPG operates in over 100 countries, employs 41,800 marketing professionals, and generates revenue of US $6.5 billion. By 1993, McCann Erickson was the number one agency in the world.

— Wikitales

“Oh wow, another scything commentary on ‘service’ design, advertising, entertainment & politics …

– The Daily Fox

“A radical cosmic rebel’s first-hand account of a corrupt & poisonous global industry; served with a pint & packet of ‘mon-star’ munch …

It’s enough to turn Krishna

              into a bad boy.

– The Holy Hippy

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