Len Weinreich’s corkboard.

One of the side-effects of putting out this blog has been the people I’ve met.
Take Len Weinreich, whilst trying to find Paul Leeves work for an upcoming podcast, I came across Len, it turns out he lives down the road from me.
Alan Parker had referred to him as ‘the bloke who taught me everything I know about advertising’, Dave Trott said he gave him the best piece of advice on advertising he ever got and Paul Leeves simply said he was ‘very, very clever’.
Len had set up two agencies; sixties hot-shop Alders Marchant Weinreich and Burkitt Weinreich Bryant in the eighties.

It turned out that not only did Len have the ads I was looking for, he also had the ads I wasn’t looking for.
He explained that, like most creatives in the sixties he used to cut out and pin-up his favourite ads, he then reached for a giant envelope and there they all were. 

After a bit of negotiation, he reluctantly let me take them home to scan.
Looking these ads, with their little pin-holes in each corner, that had been carefully stored over the years got me thinking.
There used to be a more public appreciation of advertising.
I’m not talking about awards, I’m talking about people actually liking and admiring the creativity that went into advertising.
I visited virtually every agency in London in the eighties, in the hope of escaping the one I was in at the time, and I’d assess each one the minute I stepped through their doors; their output covered every inch of the walls, whether it’d won awards or not, it was who they were and they were proud.
It’s hard to find an agencies output today, it’s certainly not on their walls, sometimes it’s not even on their site.
When I’d arrive at the creatives office back then I’d be presented with a wall covered with a mixture of work they were proud of and work they admired.
It was like looking into someone’s wardrobe or Spotify playlists, it gave you a little insight into their personality.
The work they’d pinned but not created was viewed with a mix of admiration and envy, it may even irritate them into working late that night to try reach those heights.
Unfortunately, creatives no longer have corkboards, because they don’t have office walls to screw them to, so it’s tougher to get a snap shot of who they are and what they aspire to.
This is what Len Weinreich aspired to in the sixties and beyond.

Here are the bits I found interesting in this batch:
a) A John Webster press ad; ‘Churchill’ for The Telegraph.
b) An ad for PKL welcoming DDB to London, 1965, I think?
c) I’d forgotten how enormous broadsheets used to be, each need to be done in four quarters on an A3 scanner, look at the size of the name of the paper on David Abbott’s ’29th Oct’ ad for Volvo, tiny, but probably the same size as it’d be printed today.
It makes you realise just how powerful that or the ads around them would’ve been.
d) Boy, newspaper printing was bad back then, take the ad above, it looks like a potato print.
e) The earliest ad from Len’s corkboard is probably the PKL one, about 1964, the latest is probably John Hegarty’s Newsweek ad; ‘The History of the word in weekly parts’, 1983.
They don’t look twenty years apart.
I wonder whether ads saved to a creative’s desktop today be as similar to those from a creative’s wall in 1998?
It’s tempting to say no, because the business is so radically different, but I suspect the answer would probably be yes, the reason it’d be saved would be the same; the words and pictures created a smile in the mind.

Thanks for hanging onto them Len.

13 responses to Len Weinreich’s corkboard.

  1. Robin. says:

    Thank you, Dave.

    I too used to collect ads and it was a serious hobby. I subscribed to Punch magazine for the (inside front cover BMW) ads. Good Housekeeping for the Sainsbury’s ads …

    And I think for some, the next greatest feeling to doing a brilliant campaign yourself is coming across one. And believing for a mo that there are dazzling suits who can sell fresh ideas to brave clients.

    Then came the internet and people stopped collecting ads because they believe you can find anything on Google.

    Not really.
    Try finding Abbott’s long copy, no headline Volvo press ads circa 1988.
    Amnesty’s “this square is black” ad.
    Bbh ad for Martin Amis London Fields.

    Scams – ads what never ran – didn’t help either.
    For a while, the first time anyone saw a black pencil or titanium lion ad was at the award show/annual.

  2. Nick George says:

    Spotted a spelling error in an Eagle shirt ad.
    I worked for Len.
    He was great.

  3. Newy Brothwell says:

    Len was my 2nd CD. Apart from how to do proper ads he taught me a lot about life. How to eat oysters for instance. He was a terrific boss.

    • dave dye says:

      Yep, I’ve heard nothing but good things about Len since I posted that. Dx

  4. Jim says:

    More trips down memory lane. And few that snucked past me first time round. Maybe we’ll get you to do the best of Jockland some day.
    Thanks again.

  5. Nick George says:

    I have to revisit this and comment. I was sitting at home in 1986, I quit a job in ads as the cd was an utter twat called Jeremy. Freddie Tarrant called me and asked what do you want? I said I want to work for an interesting boss. She named a few famous names and I had met a few and I said nope, in my view they are boring. So she got me a meeting with Len, and that’s how I became the youngest head of art in London. I walked into Lens office and stared at the wall, the awards all framed, those magnificent Pentax ads which had really inspired me as a student in Manchester (David Hockney’s Pentax, Ken Russell’s Pentax, Spike Milligan’s Pentax), for me meeting Len was like a sixth form footballer having a chat with Sit Alex Ferguson.
    It didn’t end well, I know why, but it did end well in two ways.
    Firstly Len wrote me a glowing reference letter that enabled me to get a resident visa for Austalia.
    And then, years later, Huw Burkett did the same for me to secure a visa to live and work in Japan, where I met my future wife.
    It was a total business learning experience for me working for those guys, none of us were a good fit, but my word it was interesting.
    And working for Len, doing a trade ad for Malibu, I sort of enabled the launch of the career of the page three girt Gail McKenna.
    And big ups to Newy, he was there at Len and Huw’s place, and he taught me the NATO radio alphabet.
    Tango Hotel Alpha November Kilo Sierra, Newy.

  6. Justin Garofano says:

    I happen to have the Jamaica Jockey travel poster and was trying to find more information about it. I came across your blog post and there was the image! Do you know roughly what year that image or the other Jamaica images you present here were printed? The article on the ad says 70c bet my poster says 60c bet and I thought that was interesting.

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