AdLand Suit is Dan Shute, a Board Account Director at Delaney Lund Knox Warren, a top ten London Advertising Agency. This is where I write about the life of a Suit - which can include pretty much anything. Delaney's didn't know I was doing this, but they do now. They still don't agree with everything I say though. They'd also probably rather I swore less.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Why Lunch Isn't Going Anywhere

Last Friday, the Guardian's G2 section carried a rather distressing article on 'The Death Of The Lunch'. Some rather archaic language aside (nobody refers to it as 'the lunch' anymore - we dropped the definite article YEARS ago, dahling), this is obviously a topic of some importance for the advertising world. And particularly, some might say, for Suits.

Now, one thing I've noticed about this recession is that it's very much, if you'll indulge the melodrama, about 'death'. To explain: for any given circumstance, there are always at least two ways of observing it, at least two ways of cutting the data, and at least two ways of viewing the consequences. For example, 'the death of the night out' could also be expressed as 'the rise of the night in' - as pubs and restaurants lose, so pizza delivery places, lovefilm and Ann Summers win. Perhaps naturally, in times of recession, the instinct is to focus on the negative - but when it comes to Lunch (always capitalised), I'm not sure that's the right way to think of it.

Let's look at this purely from an advertising perspective (to be honest, Journalists and Bankers having their expense accounts slashed just means that restaurants are a much nicer place - the death of braying, the rise of 'having a nicer time', if you will). I'd say that over the last few years, we'd reached a slightly crazy place on the Lunch front, where successfully supplying a print ad merited Bellinis at Joel Robuchon, fishcakes at the Ivy or Fish Pie at Sheekey's - with the aforementioned Frenchman now offering a sub-£20 set-menu lunch, it's fair to say the world has changed somewhat, and with it the concept of Lunch.

But dead? Gosh no. Just different - and many would argue, for the better. When Lunch is something that happens all of the time, it loses its lustre somewhat. And that is something that must be guarded against. A good lunch can have wonderful consequences: it can change a client relationship for the better; it can get a tricky spot through the BACC; it can bond an Agency team... And a GREAT lunch... Well, a great Lunch can make an Agency. At the heart of any enduring Agency-Client relationship, you will find at least one great Lunch, if not a whole succession. And the fact that these occasions don't arise every week just serves to make them more special - any threat to their existence just makes them all the more so.

So perhaps a change is a good thing - perhaps, Lunch was in danger of becoming, well, just lunch. But as budgets get slashed, Lunches will be rationalised - people will Lunch when the situation demands, not when the situation quite fancies it. And as the frequency decreases, any good Suit will tell you that the quality must increase - I like to think of it as Newton's third law of Lunching*. So welcome this recession, Suits of the World. There may be fewer Lunches, but they're going to be damn good.

So, with all of that on board, it feels like a good time to ask my dear reader(s) about their best lunches - where were they, what was the occasion, and, most importantly, what was the wine? I'll happily respond with my own (debranded) recollections in the comments.

*Newton's First Law of Lunching: The longer the Lunch, the better the Lunch. Newton's Second Law of Lunching: The bigger the occasion, the bigger the Lunch.


golublog said...

I'm a junior creative still no fancy lunches for the likes of me. My media friends lunch like kings though.

AdLand Suit said...

Even Junior Creatives shouldn't miss out on Lunch - you just need to be friends/working with the right Suit (or TV producer)! If you're working hard, getting stuff through and not being Lunched, then you're in the wrong place...

Anonymous said...