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.

6 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.

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