VFTL. Episode 5: Mike’s Dad. (AKA Dave Waters).

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Starting out as a creative is tough.
Most days are divided into two parts, first you squeeze out as many ideas as you possibly can, second you try not to give up when your creative director tells you they are all crap. Occasionally you may get a ‘nice’, that will keep you going until maybe two months later when you may get a ‘cool’, even an ‘ok’ buoy the spirits.
Encouragement is crucial.
The first person of any note to say ‘nice’ about one of my ads was Dave Waters, although it wasn’t ‘nice’ it was ‘ ‘kin brill‘. it was written underneath an ad for the Starlight Foundation he’d cut out from Campaign and sent to his old partner Jan Van Mesdag, (who was my boss at the legendary Cromer Titterton).
It was very encouraging, Dave was one of the stars from the best agency of the time GGT.
GGT was not only the best creative agency at the time, it was known to have the toughest regime, weekends there were like Mondays anywhere else,

Also, if you didn’t deliver creatively, either your salary was cut or you were fired.
Dave thrived in this environment.
Dave Trott, the ‘T’ on GGT, called Dave his Roy Keane, saying he was hungrier than anyone, ‘the juniors would do trade ads and if they did well they could steal the bigger tv briefs the seniors were working on and have a crack.
Dave was one of our most senior creatives, he’d do all the big ads and then steal the trade briefs from the juniors, he wanted to do everything.’
Had a great chat with Dave, hope you enjoy it.

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(Dave’s wedding invite.)IMG_1635.JPGpatille-hills-balsam-dave-watersITV PRESS ADSITV ARIELSITV SCREENS

LWT 2 ' Royal Variety'LWT 'Russ Abbott:Holes'.jpgLWT 'The Professionals'-01.jpga-tennis-star-lwt-dave-waters-ggtLWT 1 'A New Detective Series'this-army-lwt-dave-waters-ggt

'It's All Fresher' Morrisons, GGT.jpgMorrison's 'More Reasons' Bag, Dave Waters, GGT.jpg

mickey-cadburys-creme-eggs-ggt'Vera' Cadbury's Creme Eggs, GGT.jpg'Sid' Cadbury's Creme Eggs, GGT.jpg'Percy' Cadbury's Creme Eggs, GGT.jpg'Rambo' Cadbury's Creme Eggs, GGT.jpg

Dave W (above) v Dave T (below).

DFGW launch.jpg'Summer Festivals' NME, Dave Waters, DFGW.png'Scan' NME, Dave Waters, DFGW.jpg'Fresh' NME, Dave Waters, DFGW.jpg'That's How Many' Fire Brigade, Dave Waters, DFGW-01.jpg

'Manual' Daewoo, Dave Waters, DFGW.jpg

This gives me a great excuse to shine a light on Dave’s various stamps and bits of paraphernalia that turn up when you receive one of his letters or packages.Dave Waters - 3 x stamps-01IMG_0065
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An article about Dave and Dave Cook, from his Roy Keane period.Dave Waters & Dave Cook 1-01Dave Waters & Dave Cook 2Press - Dave Trott-01.jpg

Turning Stories Into Ads: Dave Trott & Paul Grubb on LWT

I’ve written previous posts on ‘turning stories into ads’, The Guardian, BBC’s Panorama and GQ.
I wrote them because it struck me that although the brands were very different, what they wanted was exactly the same; An appropriate look to hold an idea about any subject under the sun.
Take The Guardian, the ads I worked on ranged from the trial of mass murderer Fred West to the fact that footballer Jurgen Klinsmann couldn’t stay upright if their was another footballer within a circumference of ten feet.

It now seems to be the way media does media.

You rarely see media owners talking about what they stand for, like The Economist, now it’s more likely to be ‘we have this bit of content on Tuesday’.

When chatting to Dave Trott recently, it  occurred to me that they could probably all be traced back to GGT’s  LWT poster campaign.
I don’t know if it was the first, but it’s certainly the best example of ‘Turning stories into ads’.

He mentioned they had produced seventy or eighty posters, so I couldn’t resist trying to track them down and see whether he remembered much about them.
I got to about 65 before the trail ran dry, thanks to Axel Chaldicott, Dave Waters and Paul Grubb.
(Paul in particular had a ton of info, so I’ve included that too.)

LWT TV Title

DAVE TROTT; “We never actually had the LWT account.
An agency called The Creative Business had it.
The man who ran the agency, David Bernstein, was a good friend of the LWT client, Ron Miller.
Both were good blokes, so the account wouldn’t move.
But one day Mike Gold had an idea.
He said to Ron Miller, don’t move the account, but just let us do the trade ads for you.
If you really want to get agency media departments to shift their money onto LWT you need to do something exciting.
Get their attention, create a bit of a stir.
At that time there were two commercial TV channels in London, both competing for ad agencies’ media money.
Thames TV ran Monday to Thursday.
LWT ran Friday to Sunday.
So the job was to get agencies to shift money out of Thames and onto LWT.
LWT tried to do this with a DPS in Campaign each week, running the same old media graphs.
Mike Gold said, if you let us run ads that get ad agencies talking about the ads, LWT will be much higher profile than Thames and you’ll look more attractive.
So Ron Miller said we could do his trade ads.
Mike Gold said the trade ads should be programme ads, as high profile as we could make them.
Leagas Delaney, who did the Thames TV advertising, did the sensible thing.
They ran half page ads in the Evening Standard.
But Mike said he had a much more exciting idea than that.
Mike had just seen a TV programme about communist China.
There were no newspapers, so each week they pasted a government press release onto the wall of every village.
In each village people would stand around waiting for it to change.
Mike said we could do that with posters.
If we changed the poster in the same place each week, people would be watching for the new one.
We’d only put the posters outside ad agencies, but no one would know that, they’d think the posters were everywhere.
The problem was, with a poster each week we could only print one plate, but LWT wanted their logo in 3 colours.
So Gordon Smith, the art director, had an idea.
He said each set of posters would run for 13 weeks at one poster a week.
Why didn’t we print 13 week’s-worth of colour logos and borders and keep them in a warehouse.
Then pull off a week as we needed and print the single plate.
That way we got full-colour posters printed in the same time as single-colour posters.
And that’s what we did.
When they ran, Mike Gold went round checking each poster site and having some moved to the other side of the road.
Why did he do that?
The posters ran in winter: it was light in the morning and dark at night.
People would see them coming in to work, but not going home.
You won’t find many media blokes that thorough.
When we did the ads, it wasn’t fair to give them to a particular team.
So we let everyone have a go but not in working hours.
If you wanted to do a poster you had to do it on your own time.
This meant, every Saturday, the agency was full of young creatives wanting to get an LWT poster in the D&AD annual.”
 

LWT-Hurricane-Higgins-Snooker
DAVE TROTT; “Paul Grubb and Sam Hurford showed me a rough with the picture of a snooker table with the pockets broken out, no headline.
It made sense because the biggest snooker draw at the time was Alex “Hurricane” Higgins.
But, good as the picture was, I thought the picture on its own was too subtle for a poster.
It would have made a good press ad, but posters have to work faster, from further away, in bad weather.
So I made Grubby put “Hurricane Warning” across the top.
He didn’t like it, he wasn’t happy.”

LWT 'John DeLoreon' Rough-01
REJECTED.
DAVE TROTT;  The client  thought this would upset Russ Abbott, John DeLorean and anyone who invested in the company (Like the Government.)
THIS WAS THE AD THAT RAN.
LWT 'Russ Abbott:Holes'
PAUL GRUBB; “We used whomever, whatever was available. The Art Director Dave Waters wore a skirt for this one.”

LWT 10.missile
DAVE TROTT; “I tried to get the client (Ron Miller) to buy two ads before this one.
Same visual but different headlines.

One said: WHAT WAS THE LAST THING TO PASS THROUGH KENNEDY’S MIND.
The other said: I NEED ANOTHER PARADE LIKE A HOLE IN THE HEAD.
Ron turned them both down so I thought we’d better go back with something serious.

LWT - The Gentle Touch-01LWT 15. 'Cannon & Ball'-01LWT 'Thriller', GGT-01LWT - '6 O' CLOCK SHOW-01
PAUL GRUBB; As you know, Mike Gold came up with the idea of preprinting the coloured border so we only had to print a black plate inside, allowing us the quick (at the time) turnaround of a poster a week.
And our clients were so good they allowed us to experiment, and here’s one such.
We thought it would be great to mix the sheets up, but in more than a couple of locations, the contractors posted them up in the normally correct sequence with the border aligned around the periphery (against specific instructions) so in those places it was just a poster that read EVER HAD ONE OF THOSE WEEKS, leaving people who cared wondering what the hell was going on. The irony….”
 LWT 5 'Whoops apocalypse'DAVE TROTT: “I was always disappointed that no one got this one.The picture was meant to be both of them putting their fingers in their ears to avoid the sound of all the H bombs going off.”
But everyone thought it meant they didn’t want to listen to each other.
I think we over-thought it.”

LWT 'Parkinson's Disease' Rough-01
REJECTED.
DAVE TROTT; “The client thought this would have upset Michael Parkinson, the BBC and anyone with Parkinson’s Disease.”

LWT-Royal-Variety-Show-1PAUL GRUBB; “This was one of my favourites. Everyone was genuinely nervous about what the reaction would be.”

LWT TARBY-01
PAUL GRUBB; We had to get Tarby’s approval for this and when he agreed, we thought he didn’t understand the idea, thinking it was just a picture of him.
Also, he wanted to actually be photographed rather than us using a stock shot.
On the shoot, he said “you guys think I don’t understand the concept don’t you? I’m not thick, I know you’re implying I have no friends”.
We were young we didn’t know how to respond.”

LWT 2 ' Royal Variety'LWT 27. 'Tales Of The Unexpected'-01LWT 'A Kind Of Loving'-01PAUL GRUBB; We were masters of the concrete idiom, leading some people to call us the concrete idiots.”

LWT 6 'Fugitive'PAUL GRUBB; We bent the rules on this one, or the border at least – we didn’t have a preprinted ‘folded and creased’ corner so we had to pressure the printers to work through and whack this particular one out in a week. Nice result though.”

LWT 4 'Denis Thatcher'
PAUL GRUBB; “Always prodding the establishment, trying to provoke and annoy.”

LWT 31. 'Ayotolllah'DAVE TROTT; “Paul Grubb had a picture of the Ayatollah with blood dripping from his hands.
I changed it to have a shadow on the wall, then added the headline.”
I think we got bomb threats after this ran, which we were all pleased with.

LWT 49.  'Big Boobs' article-01LWT 'Man And Superman' GGT-01LWT 14. 'Arsenal Fans'-01DAVE TROTT; “Nick Wray did this one.
White out red but still just one plate to print.
As a Man Utd fan, Nick hated Arsenal and they had a reputation for drawing or winning one nil.
I think Terry Neil was the manager when this ran.
After it ran he got the sack and threatened to sue us.
So Nick was happy.

LWT 46. 'Carribean Mystery'-01LWT 'Luftwaffe', GGT-01 2LWT 'Lead Pollution', GGT-01LWT 41. 'Credo'-01LWT 'Paying For Time', GGT-01LWT 'SEVEN SUSPECTS'-01LWT 'Second Chances', GGT-01LWT 1 'A New Detective Series'

LWT 'WINDS OF WAR' ROUGH-01REJECTED.
DAVE TROTT; “The client turned this idea down because it didn’t accurately reflect the storyline, or how much LWT had spent on it.”

LWT 'Winds Of War' ROUGH 2-01
REJECTED.
DAVE TROTT; “This one was turned down as well. 
Even though it reflected the storyline, he thought it might upset the people who were selling it to him.”
THIS IS THE AD THAT RAN.
LWT Rough 'Winds Of War'-01
LWT The Secret Adversary'-01Paul Grubb; “Along with The Fugitive, this was the only other time we strayed from the black plate only template.”

LWT 'Seven Dials' GGT-01
LWT 'Money' -01DAVE TROTT; “Gordon and I never knew if we should have had a question mark after “You remember money.” Still don’t.”

LWT 'A Fine Romance'-01LWT 'British Academy Awards'-01LWT 16. 'Children's Royal Variety'-01LWT 'Alan Whicker'-01LWT 'Churchill' Rough-01REJECTED.
This was pulled at the eleventh hour, because the client worried it may be seen as disrespectful. The one below ran.LWT 17. 'Churchill'-01

LWT 20. 'Game For A Laugh'-01
DAVE TROTT; “All these legs belonged to people who worked at the agency.
One pair belonged to a very senior account man who said he subsequently got very aroused every time he went past the TV producer (on the right) and thought of her panties round her ankles.
Fair enough.”

LWT 22. 'Old Times'-01LWT 9 'Brickies'LWT 'Marlowe', GGT-01 LWT 'Wild Geese'-01LWT 'Lead Pollution', GGT-01LWT 'Spiderman'-01Paul Grub; “A very good, well known creative, whom I won’t name, at the time accused Gordon of art directing with a knife and fork based on this poster.
He may well have had a point but he really missed the point – these were literally thrown together, some worked brilliantly and some didn’t work at all.
But we had fantastic clients like Michael Grade, Ron Miller and John Birt who stuck by us through the good and bad times.

LWT 'A Walk In The Dark'-01LWT 'Janet Street Prter' Rough-01REJECTED.
DAVE TROTT; “The client thought this would upset Janet Street-Porter, women, and anyone with big teeth.”

LWT 34. 'KGB'-01LWT 'Airwolf'-01LWT 'Marlowe', GGT-01LWT 'BOND, GOLDEN GUN'-01PAUL GRUBB; “A different Bond film, same attack on the establishment of the time.”

LWT 'BOND, SPY WHO LOVED ME'-02PAUL GRUBB; “This was a time when there were many news stories about gay spies. We never won any pc awards, there was no PC in GGT.”

LWT 3 'The Yanks'
PAUL GRUBB; “This one raised a few hackles – typically ‘offensive’ GGT style.

LWT 40. 'Are We Not Game For A ...'-01
DAVE TROTT; “Not a great poster but the one that got us into most trouble.

We ran it a few days after someone had broken into the Queen’s bedroom and sat chatting to her on the end of her bed.
Daily Mail readers were outraged that we could take the piss out of such a scandalous thing.
How dare we?”

LWT 21. 'Magnum'-01DAVE TROTT; “We didn’t know much about this programme except the detective was a Vietnam veteran.
When it ran, the client (Ron Miller) said he had a problem with his boss, who thought it looked like a black man’s hand.
And that we were implying all gun crime was down to black men.
We kept pointing out it was a white man’s hand, but it he didn’t believe us.”

LWT 28. 'Stanley Baxter'-01LWT 'The Fame Game'-01LWT 'Crease Up'-01LWT 'Lord Olivier' Rough-01REJECTED.
DAVE TROTT; “This was turned down by the client for not reflecting the gravity of the occasion. ”
THIS IS THE AD THAT RAN.
LWT 48. 'Is This A Rattle?'-01
LWT 'Eiger'-01

LWT 'Have It Away Day' Reject 3-01 LWT 'Have It Away Day' Reject 2-01LWT 'Have It Away Day' Reject-01DAVE TROTT; “Those were all rejected in favour of this one.”LWT 'Have-It-Away-Day'-01

LWT 50. 'Sperm' Article-01LWT 19. 'David Frost' 1 -01LWT 'Star Wars' Rough 2-01
REJECTED.
DAVE TROTT; ‘It was felt to be to be somewhat unpatriotic towards British Leyland.”
LWT 'Star Wars' Rough-01
REJECTED.
DAVE TROTT; ” This was turned down because the client felt it might upset Arthur Scargill (in the photograph).”
THIS IS THE AD THAT RAN.
LWT 42. 'Star Wars'-01
LWT 'The Mercenaries'-01LWT 'Steve Ovett' Rough-01REJECTED.
DAVE TROTT; ” The client turned it down because it would have upset Steve Ovett, Sebastian Coe and anyone with premature ejaculation.”

LWT 'Miss Beautiful'-01PAUL GRUBB; “One of two posters we did with Linda Lusardi, who was a very popular page 3 girl during that period (I can’t believe they still do that!)
This is the original artwork.
Trotty, unbeknownst to Micky Finn who was the account director at the time, made us retouch her boobs to be twice as big, because he didn’t think they were noticeable enough, so Brian Harvey (remember actual art retouchers?) did a magnificent job of giving her Dolly Parton-esque prominence.
Micky didn’t see the artwork until he got it out of the bag at the client.
He came back and stormed into Trotty’s office and went ballistic, I thought he was going to attack him!
We ran with this unretouched version, much to Trotty’s disgust.”

LWT 'Return To Eden'-01LWT 'The Price Is Right'-01LWT 'Spielberg' Rough 2-01REJECTED.
DAVE TROTT; “The client turned it down because the advertising for E.T. hadn’t started yet.”
LWT 'Spielberg' Rough-01REJECTED.
DAVE TROTT; “The client apparently turned this down because he had relatives at the BBC.”
THIS IS THE ONE THAT RAN.
LWT 43. 'Spielberg'-01

LWT 24. 'Victor Borge' -01
LWT 'Rapped' Campaign Article-01