VFTL. Episode 3: Peter Souter.

Peter Souter:Showaddywaddy.jpgMy 7th boss.
Former hitch-hiker,
Frankenstien re-animator,
David Abbott replacement,
D&AD President,
ITV sitcom creator,
Radio 4 drama writer and
cousin of Showaddywaddy
lead singer Dave Bartram.

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DELANEY FLETCHER DELANEY.'Some Women Are' Cancer, Peter Souter, DFD*.jpg

WOOLAMS MOIRA GASKIN O’MALLEY.'Escape' Eurax, Peter Souter, WMG)-01.jpg'Scratch' Eurax, Peter Souter, WMGO-01.jpg'Boy' Tri-Ac, Peter Souter, WMGO-01.jpg'Girl' Tri-Ac, Peter Souter, WMGO-01.jpg'Twins' Tri-Ac, Peter Souter, WMGO-01.jpg


ABBOTT MEAD VICKERS.Peter Souter:Paul Brazier.jpg
'This Whippet' RSPCA, Peter Souter, AMV*.jpg'During The Recession' RSPCA, Peter Souter, AMV-01.jpg'Bill' RSPCA, Peter Souter, AMV-01.jpg'Before They're' RSPCA, Peter Souter, AMV**.jpg'Injection:Radio' RSPCA, Peter Souter, AMV.jpg

'Industrial Secrets' The Economist, Peter Souter, AMV*.jpg

'Envelope 2' D&AD, Peter Souter, AMV-01.jpg'Dead' D&AD, Peter Souter, AMV-01.jpg

'This Ad Has' Queen Elizabeth's, Peter Souter, AMV*-01.jpg'Radio' RSPCA, Peter Souter, AMV-01.jpgPetr Souter:AMV:BBDO.jpg

'Jordan' The Economist, AMV:BBDO.jpg'Ever Go Blank' The Economist, AMV:BBDO.jpg

'Lolly' Guinness, AMV:BBDO.jpg'Iceberg' Guinness, AMV:BBDO.jpg'Fan' Guinness, AMV:BBDO.jpg




WRITER.'Goldfish Girl' Peter Souter.jpg'Hello:Goodbye 2' Peter Souter.jpg'Married. Single. Other 2' Peter Souter.jpg'Married. Single. Other 3' Peter Souter.jpg'Married. Single. Other' Peter Souter.jpg


John O'D, D&AD Jury-01-01
John O’Driscoll, where were you brought up?
Before I answer that question are you sure about this interview?
I don’t give short answers and have a tendency to go on a bit!
Ask my family!
Yeah, I’ve heard that.
I was born and bred in a Surrey village called Hersham.
Birth place of Julie Andrews and Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69.

What was the first ad you remember?
It wasn’t until I was 13 that I remember seeing an advert that I actually read.
It was in a pile of magazines that my mum had bought home from her job as a cleaner in a posh house.
The magazine was destined for the grate to help get the fire going, but because it was American I thought it might contain pictures of film stars, so I flicked through this magazine called The New Yorker and discovered it was full of writing and cartoons.
I didn’t understand the humour.
There were a lot of ads for cars using sleek photos, always with a woman either in a bikini or an evening dress, or standing next to a bloke in hunting gear, standing either side of a Cadillac, Pontiac, or some other car.
I then came across a VW ad; a black and white picture of Beetle shot from the rear view, it had a chalk marks around the rear window.
The headline read ‘The Italian designer suggested one changed’
VW 'Italian Designer', DDB NY
Up until then I had thought that VW’s were ugly fuckers, and who’d want to own one?
But the fact and Italian designer suggested that all they had to do was make the back window bigger made me think “What do I know?”

Were you an art school kid?
Not even a consideration.
Even if I could’ve got into one I couldn’t have gone, I had to get a job as my dad wasn’t too well and unable to work.

So how did you end up in advertising?
I don’t really know, accident might be a good word for it.
My ambition was to be an international athlete and a sign-writer.

Athlete/sign-writer? Good mix.
Why a signwriter?

As a child I used to love watching those blokes up ladders painting shop names, being a bit of an attention seeker I thought that’s the job for me.
Also, I was encouraged by Mr Rowland, a benevolent art teacher at my school, he used to give me lettering assignments to compensate for my inability to draw.
Then a careers officer advised me that the advent of cut out letters in plastic and neon signs meant there wasn’t much call for sign-writers who went up ladders anymore.
The only local place that offered apprenticeships in sign-writing was BAC/VICKERS, they made 
aeroplanes like the Viscount and VC10.
It just so happened that they had a place available, I filled in an application form and got the job.
Two pound twelve and six a week. (£2.60).

What was life as signwriter like?
At BAC it wasn’t good.
There was sign-writing to be done, but most of the jobs done by my department involved spray painting the planes, inside and out.
Being an apprentice I spent most of the time preparing the surfaces for spraying, and as I was a skinny fuck in those days, I was sent up into the tail of the planes to dab the rivets because the other painters couldn’t reach.
Only occasionally would I get an opportunity to practice sign-writing.
Alf, a man in a beret who’s job was painting the name of the plane near the forward door of the aircraft, would let me paint a second coat on top of lettering he’s laid down, then he’d finish it off with a top coat.
It taught me how to hold a brush and mole stick.
The best part of the week was the day release course when I’d go to Guildford Art School for a painting and decorating course.
It was at the art school that I first realised that the factory life was not for me.

The college was full of them.
The only women one ever saw at the factory was pushing the tea trolley.

What happened next?
Wally Beavais.
 was a member of my athletic club and knew I was an apprentice sign-writer, one day he told me there was a similar job called a ‘lettering artist’, and that these ‘lettering artists’ worked in places called ‘studios’, usually in London.
It turned out that he was one before he dropped out to become a hippy.
I also saw the cover of THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, another magazine my mum bought home, the cover showed a man sitting at a drawing board lettering the word ‘POST’.
The Saturday Evening Post 'Lettering;', Norman Rockwell
The combination of ‘lettering artist’, ‘Studio’ and the Norman Rockwell illustration rewired my ambition to be a lettering artist and not a sign-writer.

So you got a job as a Lettering Artist?
Well, always the fantasist, I put together a little set up in the corner of my bedroom, replicating the Rockwell scene.
Fucking tragic.
I used to sit there with my sleeves rolled up in the freezing cold, pretending I was the bloke in the illustration, what a dope.
With the help of Wally, who’d showed me some samples of his work, I put together a little portfolio. One Saturday morning I took it along to the local Youth Employment Office and told a man smoking a pipe that I wanted to be a lettering artist.
He didn’t have a clue what it was, but said he’d make enquiries.
A week later he’d arranged an interview for me as a studio junior in a  package design company.
I took a sickie off from the factory, put on a jacket and tie and made my way to up to Tandy Halford and Mills in Dover Street, Mayfair.
A lovely man called Cyril Poore interviewed me.

Did you get the job?
I did, but as a pot-boy and messenger.
I had to get in half and hour before all the lettering artists to change the water in their water pots, then spend the rest of the day running messages around London.

Not much lettering then, did you mind?
You’ve got to be fucking joking, it was a fantastic place.
In the interview Mr Poore had taken me on a guided tour of the company and apart from the posh reception and lovely offices, the place was full of girls in mini skirts.
I was nearly in a dead faint half the time, but the clincher was the studio, it blew me away, it was full of people sitting at drawing boards silently lettering away.
It was a beautiful sight, the Norman Rockwell scene but for real, only ten times over.

The lettering artists at THM  were the best in town, one of them, Derek Benee, could tick in 6pt Universe caps that looked like it was type set.
He was so good he even did early test paintings for Pop artist Bridget Riley to see if her op-art ideas worked.
But no matter how much I tried, it was deemed by those who knew better that I didn’t have ‘it’, so I was sent into the finished art studio, given a white coat and got taught how to prepare finished art for printing. I was being trained to be a high quality paste-up artist.

You asked me not to forget to ask you about David Bowie, so, what’s all this about David Bowie John?
Thought you’d never ask.
One of the other finished artists in a white coats was a bloke called Brian Balcombe, he was in one of Bowie’s early bands, one day he asked me if I wanted to join his band mates in ‘The Society Of The Prevention of Cruelty To Long-Haired Men’, as I was sporting a decent mop at the time.
Then one lunch time this bloke with two different coloured eyes turned up at the office and was introduced by Brian to me as his mate Dave, we shook hands and had a little chat and he fucked off.
He never asked me to join though, apparently my hair wasn’t long enough.

Did you leave or were you pushed?
I was advised to move on by another finished artist, a lovely man called John Turton, who thought I had skills in other areas, like graphics.
So I was sent by THM to evening classes in graphic design at St Martins College, I’d bring my stuff in the next day and show the designers.
They weren’t unkind but weren’t very encouraging either.
But John Turton lined me up with an interview as a finished artist working for ex-THM designer called John McConnell.
Sadly the interview was cancelled as his wife had had a baby a bit earlier than expected.
But good old John Turton, God love him, was so determined for me to move on that he made me answer an ad in Ad Weekly, a kind of Campaign before Campaign.
It was for a paste-up artist in an advertising agency called John Collings and he thought I’d be better suited to agency life.

What did you know of John Collings?
Fuck all, in fact I didn’t even know what an advertising agency was, I just pretended I knew, John Turton was such a knowledgable and supportive bloke that I thought working in an ad agency must be okay, so I took a book full of my lettering work along and got offered a job.John O'Driscoll Book
John O'Driscoll Book2John O'Driscoll Book 3John O'Driscoll Book5John O'Driscoll Book6John O'Driscoll Book4
John O'Driscoll Book7
John Collings isn’t a big name with the teenagers today, what was it like?

It wasn’t a big name in those days either.
It was a small agency made up of two halves, one did the posh ads for accounts such as El Al and Sekonda watches, the other half did postal and direct response ads, for things like muscle-building contraptions and rubber knickers that claimed they helped you lose weight around your arse, the kind of ads that appeared in the back-end of the Daily Mirror and Daily Sketch on a Saturday.

I presume you weren’t in the posh bit?
No. I worked under a man called Ken Clifton, the agency’s only art director.
Ken could do anything needed for direct response advertising, he could draw and was a good lettering artist.
His starbursts were masterpieces.
Ken taught me how to do type mark-ups and if anything turned me on to typography. He was good fun and a nice bloke.

What were the poshos in the other bit doing?
The posh ads were written by a free lancer called Denis Hackett, whose day job was the editor of NOVA magazine, they were designed by Derek Birdsall the legendary graphic designer.
Derek had his own man in to do his art work, so I never got the opportunity to work on the so-called good stuff.
Still, I was happy enough working there as I had a good view out the window into Soho Square and as long as I could get away early to train at my athletic club, life was okay until I got ill.
I got glandular fever and was off work for two months.

When I came back it was all change.
The direct response client was in a bit of trouble financially and was spending less so that side of agency business was diminishing and that was the end for poor old Ken Clifton.
For a time I thought that it was for me too but there was a  ‘last in first out’ policy so others got the chop before I did and there was also a change afoot in the agency as all the proper ads were to be done in-house by a new art director bloke called John Hegarty.

Name rings a bell, what was this John bloke better than Ken?
The others in the paste-up studio were a little hostile about John, one of them even nicknamed him ‘The part time flour grader’ because was so pale.
But being a first class crawler I got on with him.
He was fantastic and very kind to me and before I say anymore, if I owe anyone big time, it’s Sir John Hegarty.
For the want of a better phrase, John showed me the way.
Not long after I got back from being ill, John invited me into his office for a chat about the future.
John had prefaced the meeting by saying that one of the management had said I was an ‘enthusiastic hard worker’ and that I should know what was going on in the company.
As I hadn’t been in John’s office it was a surprise to see the ads he had pinned to his wall, among them was the VW ad I first seen as a 13-year-old.
I told him I’d seen the ad before and he said he’d had that tear sheet for years, he’d kept it since art school, he went on to tell me that the VW ads were done by an American agency called DDB and that they were responsible for other great work.

This is the feel good story of the year, what else did he say?
The plans for the future of the agency, he told me that two friends from his days at Benton & Bowles were joining from CDP,  and together they were going to turn the place around.
His friends were Ross Cramer and Charles Saatchi.
At that moment I’d never heard of DDB or CDP, let alone hid mates Ross and Charlie, but John made it all sound so exciting that I wanted to be part of it, whatever ‘it’ was.
Global Watches, John O'Driscoll3
What were they like?

I only exchanged about a dozen words with Charlie in all the time, he was so reserved, but Ross was very funny and it was from him that I discovered that piss taking was an art form.
To me it seemed like Ross was the brains of the two because Charlie never said a word.
They did some great work together, but none of it ran.

What about that John bloke?
I found him very reassuring and he gave me hope.
When I declared that I had no drawing ability and asked whether that would be an obstacle to me being an art director, John said that the art of good advertising is not down to being an artist but having a good imagination.
At that very moment I grabbed that notion and have held on to it ever since.
The conversation also helped me to refocus my ambitions, as my girlfriend had just dumped me and The Head Coach on the Olympic Potential Course had advised me that I had no future as an international triple jumper; my legs were too short!
So over the next few weeks John enlightened me more about advertising, telling me about other great New York agencies like PKL, Wells Rich Greene and Delehanty Kurnit & Geller.
He bought to my attention names like Helmut Krone, Bob Gage, Bill Taubin, Len Sirowitz, Bert Steinhouser and George Lois.
He introduced me artists like of Seymour Chwast and Milton Glazer of the Push Pin studio and to maybe the greatest type designer ever, Herb Lubalin.
He also gave me his back copies of  an American magazine called Art Direction, the first  magazine I ever paid a subscription to, pure advertising porn, and as John had also made me his assistant I subscribed to another mag called Ad Assistant. I was that keen. 

What was the first ad you worked on?
The first I ad I put together was a four-inch double for Eugene.Eugenie, John O'DriscollIt was their anniversary and John said I could design and put it together.
It was nothing special but it was a first thing that was all mine.
Then John then gave me another anniversary ad to do, but this time to write.
It was for Sekonda, the Russian watch maker.
I wrote a headline 
which went something like ‘Congratulations from your top British agent.’ which at the time wasn’t too bad a thought as the cold war was still going on. Never ran though.
But most of the time was spent cutting and pasting up ads.Global Watches, John O'Driscoll1Global Watches, John O'Driscoll2.png

How did you get into DDB?
Well, it seems every time I was away from John Collings something changed.
I went on holiday for a fortnight and when I came back John told me he was leaving to join Ross and Charlie in a start-up; Cramer Saatchi.
I was crestfallen, but needn’t have been as John had arranged an interview for me with an old college friend of his called Doug Maxwell, Head of Art at DDB.
I got the job in the Bullpen, (American name for the paste-up studio), and at the same time Doug made me his assistant.

What was the DDB like?
The offices had just been done up and were very modern, for the time, and the girls were beautiful, and the men were tall dark and handsome, bar Malcolm Gluck, a gay writer at FCB used to say he got a hard-on every time he walked past the DDB building.

How was the Bullpen?
Like a town square; everything revolved around it, all the art directors offices looked out on to it.
There was such pride in the work that even the account men would come and watch the ads being put together. The job was fantastic.
There was no photosetting at that time so all the type was set in metal, headlines were cut up to make the spacing look right, body copy was cut up to get rid on unwanted gaps between letters. Copy was changed if it was felt that there was too much space in lines.
It was finicky but satisfying.
That’s how I learnt how to be an Art Director.
Got a picture of the studio team which includes the UK’s greatest art director Neil Godfrey.Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 5.48.48 PM
What accounts did you work on?
First things I put together were for a Lufthansa campaign that David Abbott had written, I always liked them but David told me latterly, even when they got in the D&AD annual that year, that he hated the art direction, done by an American AD who had just gone back to the States.
Lufthansa 'Flight', D-01  Lufthansa 'Great Myths'-01
Doug had been working with David Abbott on LWT which had just won the franchise for weekend TV, so I got to put some of them together.
LWT 'David Frost'-01  LWT -01
They were lovely ads and all got into the D&AD annual.

How did you claw your way out of the Bullpen?
Did you say crawl?…I think being a very enthusiastic secretary for the DDB football team might have been an advantage, it was mostly managed by the Creative Department and as I organised all the fixtures I got to spend a lot of time in their company.
It was a good team as it happens, we had an ex Spurs Junior called David Bryce was a winger. Our captain was Martyn Walsh, the one who doesn’t get enough credit for the ‘Labour isn’t working’ poster, Tony Brignull was our centre half and a dirty bastard and on occasion, David Abbott played in goal, David Brown, the writer of the famous Ridley Scott directed Hovis film where the lad pushes his bike up the hill to Dvojak, was a dead ringer for Georgie Best, not only in hair style but how he played. He was brilliant.
I was an effective right-winger because as a club sprinter I was clocking 11.01 for the hundred metres, which was very useful on those small pitches up at Hyde Park, all agency left backs were fat fucks so I pissed past them.
We did quiet well and even got to the Ad Agency Cup Final, only to be defeated by Royds.
My memories of the occasion are that the Isthmian league team Hendon’s pitch was too big for a bunch of blokes used to those postage stamps up at Regents Park, both teams were fucked by half time and that the medals were presented by the legendary cricketer and Arsenal winger Denis Compton.
Who was pissed.

How was David Abbott?
David was the Copy Chief when I arrived, but it wasn’t long after he was made Creative Director, as the previous one, John Withers, had just gone back to the U.S.
The great thing about David was that he gave everyone one a chance, so all the assistants were given the opportunity to have a go at doing an ad.

What was the first ad you created?
I was put together with a lovely writer called Mike Doyle, a plastic Paddy like myself, to do an ad for Lufthansa.
It was to appear in the Travel Trade Gazette feature a lady at the airline who specialised in organising flight arrangements. Not a spectacular brief, and in the end not a spectacular ad, but it was an opportunity.
So for the first time ever I sat in an office with someone, feet up on a desk, talked shite and did an ad.
It was the first real ad and I got to work with a real photographer and art directed it myself.
It was because of that ad that I was made a Junior Art Director, I moved out of the Bullpen and into an office. Well,half an office, it was a space with a desk, a phone and a half a wall around it, a cubicle.Lufthansa 'Lady', John O'Driscoll

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 2.39.05 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 2.39.46 PMWhat else did you work on?
The first dealer campaign for Volkswagen, I was put 
with an Australian writer called Terry Bunton.Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 2.39.46 PM
Two points: It’s the wrong font, it should be Futura and VW ads are supposed to be black on white, not white on black?

Dawson Yeoman and Arthur Taylor a campaign that was binned by Bill Bernbach.
Arthur came through the ranks at DDB New York, he was assistant the great Bert Steinhauser and had a fondness for bold looking art direction.
So his and Dawson’s ads bore no relation to the Helmut Krone look.
As you say, it was the reverse; giant headlines set in Standard Extra Boll with Rockwell medium copy. See, can still remember it!
Mr Bernbach did not like it.
This all happened a bit late for Terry and I, we’d already done the dealer ads in that look and they were out there in the showrooms.
I have a fond memory of the time as Peter Mead, the ‘M’ in AMV, was the account man on VW took Terry and myself out as a ‘Thank you’, to the famous 60’s Mario and Franco’s ‘Terrazza’, the equivalent of The Ivy these days.
The Terrazo
Another reason I remember well is because it’s was the first time I’d eaten spaghetti that hadn’t come out of a tin.
Volkswagen 'Half', John O'Driscoll, DDBScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.05.14 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.05.06 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.04.56 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.05.24 PMJohn O'D, VW 'Cruise'-012 Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.06.33 PMJohn O'D, VW 'Silly Questions'-01

Writer David Brown and I discovered that a designer at Rolls Royce drove a Beetle.
But he wouldn’t appear in our ad because he thought it might not go down to well with his bosses. 
Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.07.14 PM

What ads influenced you at the time?

All the ads were sent once a month from the New York office.
It was like Christmas, but every four weeks.
We’d all stand around the big cutting table as the studio manager Keith Craddock would unravel the ads from the tube.
I can remember to this day when the ‘Rat ad’ by Bert Steinhauser and Chuck Kollewe was unfurled. That was a moment!

Why leave for PKL?
Things changed, at first for the good as I’d climbed up the greasy pole to become a proper art director, given a proper office and proper accounts to work on like Atlas Copco, Bankers Trust, Northern Irish Tourist Board, Tern Shirts and VW.
Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.13.37 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.13.46 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.13.56 PM
Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.14.27 PM
I was lucky in those days with writers, I struck up a good working relationships with two in particular, Terry Bunton and David Brown.
David and I did a lot of ads for VW, but one of our first ads together would’ve been the first thing I got in the D&AD annual, for the Banker’s Trust, but the creative secretary cocked-up with the entry forms and it was credited to another art director.
Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 2.38.34 PMThis disappointment was followed when David Abbott, who’d become Managing Director as well as CD of the agency, dramatically left to set up French Gold Abbott.
To replace him DDB bought an agency called Gallagher Smail, their ethos wasn’t quite the same as the DDB I’d grown to love under David.
Gallagher Smail were originally a breakaway from Mather & Crowther, (later O&M), and were more like a JWT, Y&R or McCanns in spirit.
That said, in hindsight they had some good creatives and among them was your hero Paul Arden.

What was PKL like?
The agency I joined was actually BBDO, as they had not long bought PKL.
The future author of ‘A year in Provence’ Peter Mayle was the Creative Director.
The place was a hoot, I’ve never laughed so much in my life.
There was some great characters in residence, very funny people.
Legendary agency wit Rick Cook was there.
The creative department was nick named ‘Peter Mayle’s Toy Box.’
The Christmas ‘do’s’ were legendary.
They were called Tupperware Parties, everyone in town wanted an invitation, we were such inverted snobs we made sure that the ones who really wanted to come didn’t get one!

What about the work?
Like after all mergers, the work was patchy but going in the right direction with Tim Delaney and his art director Desmond Serjeant leading the way, they did some great work on Sony and exquisite work for the wine vituallers; Grant of St James.
I went to work with a writer called Madeleine Thornhill for a time but she left to become a picture framer so, I was put to work with a very young Paul Weiland.

Did you and Paul do anything good together?
We wrote and made one commercial for Adams Cheeses titled ‘pantomime Cow’ that was reviewed in Ad Weekly with just seven words: ‘This commercial is too awful for words.’ It was.

Your writer was a lanky chap called Tim, how was Mr Delaney?
Well you know what he’s like! I was put to work with Tim by Peter Mayle after Desmond Serjeant went off to work with David Abbott at FGA, because he said I wasn’t scared of the skinny fucker.Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.50.29 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.56.31 PMWe also worked on the Body Language Bra account. Maybe the best account I’ve ever worked on!
The client used to brief us by way of private fashion shows on a specially built cat walk.
Models of all shapes and sizes would parade up and down in bras and corsets.
Tim and I would sit there watching, holding our breaths and barely containing our trousers while the client, with a straight face, would discuss the finer points of how lift and separate bras worked. Schoolboy hysteria used to break out in the cab on the way back to the agency.
Not that the visits went to waste, we put together a campaign for an under bra for ladies who were not over bosomed.
Tim’s line on the ad below could still run now and not sound too shabby. One of the best ever copywriters in town, the grumpy fucker.

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.04.25 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.05.00 PM.pngWas he scary then?

Maybe to some he could be a little intimidating.
As you know our Brendan, (Tim’s second name), is very sure of his opinions, especially about ads and politics, and if you can believe it, even more so in early 70’s.
He was very quick to share with them with people whether they wanted to hear them or not.
In fact his nickname was the ‘Blushing Bully’ on account that he used to go red when he got really going.Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.29.26 PM

Did you two get on?
Oh yeah. I learnt a lot from Tim, he’s a very classy and erudite man considering he’s of the same bog Irish class as I am, we had a laugh most of the time, but on occasions he was a little critical about my layout skills, which apparently he did with all his art directors.
It got to me one day and I went into his office with the sole purpose of hanging him out the window by his skinny ankles, but before I could lay my hands on him I burst into tears.
Told him what I was going to do and he just laughed, but I have to say after that he was as good as gold. For a fortnight!

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.53.56 PM
Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.54.12 PMThe ad above was a stand-in which we ran while we waiting for John Gorham to finish his illustrations.
The one below was done after John finally got the illustrations to me.Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.54.21 PM
Mr Delaney was at his best on Sony, we did an ad that showed a family watching a giant flat screen TV , hanging over the fire place. Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.05.34 PM
In 1975.
That was his vision not the clients.
How far thinking was that?
I was even in the room when he thought of using John Cleese to write the award-winning Sony radio commercials.
We didn’t work together that long.
At the time there were management changes in the agency, Peter Mayle had left to go to BBDO New York to facilitate his exit from advertising, so he could write books.
Before he went he made Tim the creative director, which was great for him and the agency but in the long run, but was not a lot a fun for me as had to spend a lot of late nights in the office and working Saturdays, as during the day Tim was in meetings.

PKL morphs into BBDO and you get a new writer; John Kelley, did you click straight away?
Yes, something did click.
I’ve been very fortunate with nearly all the writers I’ve worked with as they all have been ego free. John was, and is, the most easy-going and uncomplicated man to be with.
He just got on with it.
There was never any competition to get to idea first, even though John usually did, but if I’d had a better one he’d cast any thoughts he had aside.
We’d got together when John’s art director, John Horton, had gone on a big BP shoot in Australia, leaving him without someone to work with, and as Tim was so busy being a CD we were put together to work on a pitch for Skol lager.
Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.07.44 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.28.20 PM

Which ad got you two noticed?
There wasn’t one.
How did you come to be at CDP then?
Because of John Kelley.
He and John Horton had done an animated campaign for Mace food stores, with talking prices.
It was wonderful.
Frank Lowe’s wife at the time had produced it at BBDO, and had obviously told him about the campaign, he loved it so asked John to join CDP,  John then asked me if I’d go with him.
I thought about for a millionth of a second and said yes. Got lucky there old boy!
That all said I still had to go through an interview process with the CDP’s Head of Art, the U.K.’s best ever art director, Neil Godfrey.
I must have past muster with him as he didn’t object to my appointment.

John O'D Barclaycard 'Sponge' 2Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.40.29 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.40.17 PM


Arguably, CDP had the best creative department in the country, were you intimidated?
Nervous more that intimated, because there was no hiding place at CDP.
You couldn’t blame your shortcomings on anybody.
Not the account men or women.
Not the planners, who were more friends than foes.
Most of important of all; not the clients, who’d placed their business with the agency for the same reason we worked there; they wanted to make good ads.
Even the media department good, run by the amazing Mike Yershon. He would haunt the floor of the creative department seeking out ads or commercials so he could show them off in the best possible way to the public.

One of your first ads at CDP, based on the cunning insight that when scientists left their laboratories for a dinner party they didn’t want to have to lug around their heavy ballpoint pens.
Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.30.00 PM

John O'D, Fiat 'Grrr.'-01

Tell me about the ever so slightly sexist Palio ad?Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 5.58.09 PM
We thought it was just a bit of fun at the time, but understandably it would be considered very un-PC today.

It upset a few people back then too, a postcard was soon circulating that showed the poster in situ with graffiti written on ‘If this was a man it would get it’s face slapped.’.
Quite right!

Why on earth did this win a silver at D&AD?
Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.45.04 PM
Terry Lovelock, ‘Mr Heineken refreshes the parts etc’, originally penned a headline that read  “I’m Lena, Fry me”, it was a spoof of the National Airline campaign.
National Airlines 'I'm Cheryl, Fly Me'
Problem was that the sausage wasn’t actually leaner, so the line was change to ‘Meaty’.
Now why did it win? I don’t know? Blame the D&AD poster jury at time.
Might’ve been because they got the gag and the shot, by Ed White,  is maybe the best picture of a sausage ever to have graced a poster site. 

AN ANECDOTE: I was a so-called expert witness in a court case where the widow of an up and coming photographer Peter Barbieri was suing the City of Westminster and the Gas Board for negligence.
One late evening Peter ran over the pot hole while on his motorbike causing him to be thrown over the handle bars with fatal consequences.
During my testimony I had to show my credentials and the D&AD annual with the Wall’s poster in it was used to confirm that I had some standing in the ad business.
The book was handed to the presiding judge who took a long look at the ad, shook his head and commented that the banger looked a “Mighty fine sausage”.
I’m pleased to report that eventually both Westminster council and the Gas Board admitted their guilt, the judge awarded substantial damages Mrs Barbieri.
Now that’s worth a silver don’t you think?

Presumably you presented your work to notorious creative curmudgeon Colin Millward?
No, as Colin had retired by the time we’d got there, John Salmon was the CD.
I didn’t think Colin was scary until he pulled me up sharp one evening, we were in New York for a Heineken voiceover session with Victor Borge.
He and Frank Lowe, (who always attended the Borge V/O sessions), were in town en-route to Arizona for the B&H ‘Swimming pool’ shoot.
We all went out for pre-dinner cocktails at a bar on the top of the Twin Towers in New York.
While sipping a gin martini I gave some flippant reply to Frank when he enquired about how the casting was going on another job, Colin very sternly reminded me that I should give a proper answer as I was paid enough to do so.
That was after spending the entire afternoon with him visiting art galleries.
Up and until then I thought him and I were best mates.
Apparently not.

You worked on the early Heineken stuff?
To keep the client onside so the business came along to the fledging Lowe Howard Spink, Frank briefed us to give the poster campaign a more continental feel in both concept and graphics, so Tony Kaye and I sat down to meet the challenge.
Thus the flags and no ‘Heineken refreshes the parts that other beers cannot reach.’
It’s safe to say that as soon as the client signed on the dotted line the flags were soon taken down and the ideas returned to that on home turf.Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.46.44 PMThis rough was shown to the Greek client, he went absolutely mad as those guards on ceremony were considered sacred.Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.47.13 PM

The photograph below was taken by the great photographer Elliott Erwitt as it was based on a picture he’d taken for the French Tourist board in the 60’s.
John O'D, Heineken 'French Loaf'-01
Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.45.27 PM

While at CDP, you and John Kelly competed with Paul Weiland & Dave Horry on who could have the most ads on air at any one time. Who won?
As far as John and I were concerned we just got on with our own work, not worrying what the others were doing.
Also David and Paul were old friends from the past so we took as much pride in their work as they did.
We all won our fair share of gongs and some did better than others.
For the record, Horry and Weiland would take first prize as they both have black pencils in their satchels.
John O'D & Weiland-01

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.51.53 PMBirds Eye 'Ali', John O'D, CDP-01

You had the brief to follow-up one of the best ads ever?
You mean the Benson and Hedges sequel film that no ones ever heard of?
Not quite a poisoned chalice but maybe a cup of cold tea.. but that said, on reflection it’s a good film and it’s journey to the screen is indicative on how brilliant the agency worked.
John Salmon asked us to have a go as other teams were struggling to come up with another film as good as ‘Swimming Pool”.
We were happy to have a go but thought we wouldn’t crack it either.
To be quite frank, the B&H campaign wasn’t our sort of thing, we always thought it was the domain of the arty farty teams in the agency.

It’s a great ad.
Thanks to an art director called Rob Morris.
Rob had put together a B&H poster that was to run in three parts.
First one showed a safe laying on the sea floor all chained up.
Second poster had it open, full of B&H gold boxes.
Third poster just showed the empty safe.
That thought stuck with us, so we worked out a script that showed scuba divers go down to a sunken ship and discovering a hold full of B&H packs.
All this was to take place in green-blue waters just off some coral reef somewhere exotic.
Our fantasy was be sitting on a beach somewhere while a crew shot the film then surfaced to show us the results on the video play back.
We’d nod ‘Yes’, the carry on sipping our Pina Coladas or whatever was on offer.
That script was put to one side so we could work on other ideas.
One was an homage to all the posters where we showed all the previous work, can’t remember the detail, but it was titled ‘Surreal St’.
Anyway we showed them to John Salmon, he took to the one with the pack in the sunken ship, but suggested that the film should look more industrial and take place in somewhere in the North Sea, more like a BBC2 documentary.
After a rewrite we showed it to the account director on B&H, John Spearmen, who suggested would it be a nicer idea if the film took place at night to look even more dramatic.

Why Hugh Hudson not Ridley Scott?
Good question.
You see in those days Ridley was considered by the agency as a bit of a glossy director, Hugh was considered more of a ‘film maker’, even though Ridley had just made a feature film; ‘The Duelist’.
When the commercial was due to be in pre-production Hugh was in post production with ‘Chariots of Fire’, and
 he didn’t want to leave London as the premiere of the film was coming up, so he suggested our ad was shot by the Tower of London with Tower Bridge in the back ground.

Hugh also suggested we made the pack 40 feet tall. See what happens when you get top quality people on the job, easy peasy.
By the way Hugh won the silver for best direction for the film so it couldn’t have been that bad.

You became an album designer for a while?
Only when working on EMI 20 ‘golden greats’ assignments.
The album design came with the brief.
Most likely the best work I ever done as an individual.
Buddy Holly, 20-golden-greats, John O'Driscoll:CDPDiana Ross & The Supremes, John O'Driscoll:CDP20goldengreatsManfred Mann, . John O'Driscoll:CDPMotown, John O'Driscoll:CDPVarious-The-Last-Dance-Motown-LP, John O'Driscoll:CDP
Is that all the covers you did for EMI?
I was asked to coordinate with Gerald Scarfe on The Pink’s ‘The Wall’ album sleeve.
No way.
I found Scarfe as a bloke a bit of a disappointment, despite his quite hard arsed satirical cartoons he seemed a bit wimpy and through out the process, he seemed to get bullied by Roger Walters, who I believe was, and still is, a bit of a twat.
I finally got dumped from the project after delivering the dummy of the album to the band’s manager one Saturday morning.
I then had to deal with the record company not wanting to pay the bills of all the suppliers I’d got involved in the project.
Have had an intense dislike of anything Pink Floyd ever since. Wankers.

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.51.38 PM

Then on to publishing?8456l
Only in a small time way.
Alfredo Marcantonio joined CDP.
I had known Marc as a client on VW when I worked at DDB. He’d always wanted to be a writer and eventually came to CDP to work with Rob Morris.
At a lunchtime Creative Circle awards ‘do’ he told me he had the idea for the book and asked me if I was interested in doing it with him.
A great experience.
As David Abbott was a co-author, Marc and I got to meet Bill Bernbach and shake his tiny little hand and have a chat.
By the way the book now in its 5th edition and available through our website http://www.greatvwads.com Buy now while stocks last!
I noticed you’ve got a sticker on the books saying ‘The ads that made the mad men Mad.’ Has the series helped book sales?
A bit.

What about the sausage book?
Yes, I’ve been working on ‘Max The Flying Sausage Dog’ with Richard Kelley and the celebrated children’s book Illustrator Arthur Robbins since 2006.
It’s been classic Kelley relationship. No egos just hard work and collaboration.
We started off naively by getting Arthur to do the illustrations and put a dummy together not realising that’s not how it’s done, as I found out after a meeting with an editor at one of the country’s leading publishers, he said “I find a story I like, and work closely with the author and when I think the text is right I choose a suitable illustrator, then I brief a designer to put a dummy together”
Thought that comment was a one-off but it was a mantra from publishers there after.
That said we did come close with one big one but the deal was so awful we decided we’d self publish.
That was two years ago and we are now on our third book and proving, that through social media, you can sell books.
And not to miss a selling opportunity readers, for those with young sprogs it available at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Max-The-Flying-Sausage-Dog/dp/099103645X
Buy now while stocks last!
You’d be surprised how young some of my followers are.
I’m sure if their mums buy them copies they’ll love Max The Flying Sausage Dog.
b9e10a80-bc2b-40dd-8e08-a64052990326  e0dfa1ea-8cd8-4bae-9095-d485001b82a8

What is your favourite piece of work from your days at CDP?
Well, apart from the EMI covers and the films that went with them, we also did a campaign launching the tabloid size of the Daily Express.
The paper had the rights to the auto biography of the eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes and wanted to use excerpts for the launch.
We wrote trailer type commercials, which at the time were considered ‘fresh’, wonderfully shot by Alan Parker.

We did a Heineken commercial called ‘Tennis’ based on the Pong game that was all the rage in pubs at the time.
There was also a Fiat commercial we made called ‘Train’ that I think is the best film John and I wrote together. Very nice story about a man, along with his family, is seeing his mum off home on a train and as it pulls out of the station its realised her suitcase is still on the platform, there then followed a chase across the Tuscan country side to catch up with the train at the next station. Beautifully cast and filmed by Michaeal Seresin.
So…everything you did then…that was your favourite?

CDP blows up and you leave to join Lowe Howard-Spink as a founding partner and Head of Art?
It didn’t blow up, a group of us set fire to it.
Frank Lowe was not in a good place at the agency because of bit of a problem with the taxman so he was no longer in charge and as he wanted to be his own boss so he and Geoff Howard-Spink set up their own place and invited John Kelley and I to join them as Creative Director and Head of Art.
Seemed like a good idea at the time.

This poster was most the most original poster idea both John and I did for Heineken.Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 5.49.05 PM
I commissioned Phil Jude to take the picture, he was one of Lester Bookbinder’s most trusted assistants and a great photographer in his own right.
Despite Phil’s warning that what I was asking for might look a little insipid, I insisted that he took the shot as I wanted, as I was worried the ‘i’ might be missed in the logo.
It wasn’t until the proof came in I discovered he was right, It was insipid.

I went to Frank and admitted that I’d fucked up, he just said go away and re-shoot it.
This time I let Phil do it his way.
Insipid it aint!Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 5.53.08 PM

Did you do any good work there?
Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.44.38 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.40.43 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.44.28 PM
If I am honest we didn’t do anything on the level when we were at CDP.
We did do quite a nice film for Fiat that got in the annual and a Bird’s Eye film that now seems to be the only commercial that John and I did together that the public of a certain age remember. When sometimes asked by the occasional oldie, who I haven’t met before,“So what would you have done anything I’ve seen on telly all those years ago?”,  I say the Heineken ‘Tennis’, Fiat ‘Train’ and the B&H film.
The response is usually blank, but when I start to sing the opening lines to the jingle we wrote for Birds Eye Steakhouse Grills, it was sung by a group of workmen in the back of a transit van in the ad “Will it be chips or jacket spuds, Salad or Frozen peas… Will it be mushrooms, fried onion rings. we’ll have to wait and see…Hope It’s chips, it’s chips, we hope it’s chips,it’s chips, we hope it’s chips,it’s chips” their faces light up!
The fuckers sometimes even join in with me and sing the chorus.
When I see it now it seems like a bit of fun, but­ at the time our chums thought it was naff, when visiting Soho eating establishments, so called friends would start singing silently under their breaths “Hope it’s chips, It’s chips. We hope it’s chips, it’s chips”.
It was John and I’s resignation script from Lowe and Howard-Spink, we presented it to Frank at the same time we resigned.
We were told after leaving that the ad was so successful that the client wanted more of the same from the agency, which Frank didn’t want to do as he hated the film.
The business moved on shortly after and I think we were never forgiven.

What was Frank like?
I can categorically state that in my humble opinion Frank Lowe was the best account man ever in British advertising.
As a director I’ve met a lot so-called good ones in pre-production meetings.
None of them in the same league.
If there was fear factor at CDP, getting an ad past Frank was more important than anything else, that included getting one approved by John Salmon, who again, in my opinion, was the best creative director of the lot too.
Frank didn’t have a creative thought in his head but he knew a good ad or script when he saw one and broke his arse selling it.
I could go on with his virtues as an adman but it would take all day.
He’s worthy of another blog post Dave, but with those who knew him better.

Why Abbott Mead Vickers?
To be quite honest I don’t think we suited the job of bosses.
We were a little disappointed we had to deal with contractual arrangements with Frank and Geoff, so it all felt a little flat for John and I, and this dissatisfaction must have got to David’s Abbott’s ears as he gave us a call.
So we jumped ship again.
Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 6.03.14 PM
Was the  AMV David different from the DDB David?
No, exactly the same. Same man, same suits, same haircut, same modus operandi and he still sang out of tune. I loved the place but not the job anymore.

Planners…they were in the works. ‘A planner in the works’
Makes me laugh!
What’s wrong with planners?

Whats right with them!
Only joking.
For some reason, albeit rather naively, I couldn’t deal with the level of interference of planning in the creative process at AMV.
It hadn’t been that important in all the previous agencies I’d worked in.
Up until then, John and I had worked on the basis of ‘Get the brief.’ ‘Do the ad.’ Get it approved by the client’ Make it’ and ‘Move on.’
Personally, I couldn’t deal with the planning or for that matter Joe public having a say in the work. This churlish and old-fashioned view led to me losing the old mojo for making ads.
Despite working with John Kelley, one of the best creative talents in the U.K, my heart wasn’t in it anymore, which coincided with Paul Weiland asking me to join him at his production company.
So off I went to be a director.
Thanks John, it’s been wordy, and a pleasure.


Nb. For those who want to O.D. on O’D: A bit more John.
His chair.

John O'D, Chair, Direction-01

His day.John O'Driscoll 'Day By Day' Direction-01

His big break.John O'D

His short film.

BOSS No6: Tim Delaney

 Tim Delaney, Pink Circle-01
DAVE: Why advertising?

TIM: I wanted to be a hotel bell hop boy when I left school at 15.
But when I looked in the newspaper want ads – Junior Opportunities – they only had 2 ad agency messenger jobs. I went up to London and one of them offered me a job.

DAVE: What was your first job in advertising?
TIM: A messenger- in a tiny basement room with 4 others. Quite Dickensian,when I look back.

DAVE: Did you try and get into Colletts, like every other aspiring creative at the time?
TIM: When I started copywriting at 19/20, I went with an art director to see Collett’s Head of Copy called Robert Pethick.
He was charming and said we needed to have more in the book. I remember writing back to him about ‘impetuous youth’.
Later, when I was CD at BBDO, Collets were always poaching our guys, so we sent over a price list of all members of our creative department with different descriptions.
For example ‘Ron Brown – period piece, in need of some refurbishment, good value at £6,000.’ We didn’t hear whether they enjoyed it or not.

DAVE: When did you become aware of the creative revolution going on in New York?
TIM: I used to save up to buy shirts from a place called Austin’s in Shaftesbury Avenue, the only place in London that sold American brand Oxford cloth tab collars and button down shirts.
This was a Mod thing.
But I was certainly plugged into American graphics and ads – I use to buy Life and Look magazines and of course Esquire with all those great covers for my train rides home. In there were ads but also illustration by all kinds of graphic luminaries like Paul Davis and  Jean Paul Goude.
Somehow it all clicked with me.

DAVE: How did you end up at PKL?
TIM: I started writing in a little agency and I quickly became aware that I could write headlines (copy was harder for me). So I picked the 3 best creative agencies – Collett’s, DDB + Y&R – to try and get interviews.
Y&R offered me job immediately so I took it, telling them that I would stay for a little while and then go to a proper creative agency; can you image.
It sounds awful now, but then I just thought I was telling them the truth and what was wrong with that? Anyway, I didn’t like really like Y&R but when an ex-Y&R art director left PKL to go to DDB, he told me they were looking for a new team.
So I got an interview with Peter Mayle at PKL, and he hired me during the interview.
I remember walking down the Kings Road to my flat ,floating with joy. 

DAVE: Wasn’t it full of rebels, rascals and ruffians?
TIM: PKL in London was run by Peter Mayle, who was one of the great bosses – naughty, mischievous, mildly anarchic, a terrific salesman and a very good copywriter and talent spotter.
He was CD and there was a Chairman, (Sir) Nigel Seeley, a fabulous toff, and Dick Hedger who was a suit, a bit of a flogger.
But they had style and we had fun. Peter used to take the Creative Department to lunches at all the great restaurants in Chelsea and Knightsbridge. Mind you we worked from 8 till 11pm most days and almost all weekends.
Prior to my arrival, we heard that Tony Paladino, an Italian NY art director, had a fight with Nigel and broke Nigel’s arm.
But the maddest thing that happened when I was there was when Peter told me to not think of moving (which I wasn’t) because something was going to happen. It did : he fired 8 accounts in one day and cut the agency in half; I was kept on in a tiny creative department,working even longer hours.

DAVE: Did you deal with Julian Koenig, if so what was he like?
TIM: I heard he was in the office but by the time I’d got back from lunch he’d gone. Big pity.

DAVE: George Lois – a first class maniac?
TIM: Peter used to talk about George Lois as a larger than life character but he never came to London.
I knew him more for his Esquire covers, which I now found out he didn’t do – at least not exclusively.

DAVE: And Fred Papert, who was he?
TIM: Papert was the account guy. No one ever talked about him.

DAVE: It all sounds like chaos, do you think chaos is good for creativity?
TIM: It wasn’t chaos in PKL London, it was pretty near perfect working environment. We had great accounts, the department was small but talented and we all g0t on, and Peter made sure everyone knew it was all about the work and us.
New York was probably different ; I wish they had sent me for a couple of weeks.
Tim Delaney, Harrod's'1pm',PKL-01
DAVE: Remember getting your first ad into D&AD?
I first went D&AD when it was a lunch time affair at the Hilton in Park Lane.
I was working with John Gorham, probably, the best single graphic designer Britain has produced, and he asked me to write something in a booklet he was designing for Shell agricultural products.
I wrote some very basic words, no idea, and it got in the book.
My name was on it as writer.
My first ad I can’t remember, strangely.
Tim Delaney, 'Shell Report', John Gorham*DAVE: Which writer did you aspire to be at this time?
I liked all the writers at Doyle Dane in New York. Their names were even inspiring : Evan Stark, Charles Piccarillo, Ron Rosenfeld, Bob Levenson, John Noble. Plus Ed McCabe of course.
They were like Gods; far away and in no way mortal.

DAVE: You must’ve been one of the first fifty or so at BMP?
TIM: First dozen. They figured out quite quickly that Gabe Massimi wasn’t much of a talent and that John Webster was as near a genius as you will ever find in the genius-free zone that is the ad industry.
So when I joined there were just 4 creative people: John, Alan Orpin (who the account guys used to dismiss as John’s alter ego – implying he wasn’t somehow involved-weird) David Ashwell, the art director who joined from PKL who I went to join there.

DAVE: Did you have a brown, BMP branded mini?
TIM: No, nor did anyone else.
Where did you hear that story.
We were in Goodge Street, just below Cramer Saatchi, a creative consultancy, run by Charlie and Ross Cramer.
BMP's First premises-01
DAVE: Ever work with John Webster?
TIM: Yes I worked on a couple of pitches with him.
We didn’t get the accounts.
But then
 we had a run of 12 straight pitches we didn’t get.  Tim Delaney, Trade Union 'Shut Up',BMP* Tim Delaney, Trade Union 'Stop',BMP*
DAVE: Learn anything from him?
TIM: I learned that looking at American Art Director annuals isn’t about copying, it’s about getting inspiration and learning about structure – how few words are needed in a spot etc.

DAVE: Why leave small, creative BMP to join a big, bad, American BBDO?
TIM: I hated BMP, even though I worked with great people.
I hated the way Planners bombed work,the way they used it to formulate strategy.
We would work our butts off and they would come in the morning as say it was all blown out.
I understand now why that was a good way of refining ideas but at the time it really annoyed me.
It was open plan as well – I hated that.
I like a door and for it to be closed when I’m working.
I met Paul Leeves and Alan Orpin there though – two of the funniest people I have ever worked with.
I went to BBDO (which was small and failing) because PKL reversed into it, and it became PKL but bigger.
So Peter Mayle asked me to go back and be  a Group Head. I was only 25,which seems strangely young now. I wouldn’t dream of giving a 25-year-old that much responsibility nowadays.
Tim Delaney, 'Learning To Be A C.D.', Direction-01
DAVE: What’s the difference between a good creative and a creative director?
TIM: A good creative answers a brief and executes well or hopefully brilliantly.
A Creative Director needs to fulfil a number of roles.
Creatively he needs to set the tone for the ideas that represent the agency’s point of 
To do this, he has to be good at strategy and later in the process, he has to be a good proponent of the idea in a client forum,that sometimes includes their very senior people.
First and foremost, he needs to have the confidence of his department which I believe means leading by example.
But many great Creative Directors have operated simply by guiding others (
or so I’m told).
Tim Delaney, Dry Clean, 'Spots' BBDO-01DAVE: Why were you, of all people, made Creative Director of BBDO at 27?
TIM: When Peter left to go to New York, he made me Creative Director. I was 27.
Then at 29 they made me Deputy Managing Director for some reason. And then after a Palace coup , I was made MD and was still Creative Director.
The guys in NY said the problem of my age would get better every day.

DAVE: Whose work was influencing you at the time?
TIM: In London, the gold standard  was always Collett’s and whatever campaign John Webster was up to.
Everything David Abbott did was also there to be emulated.

DAVE: I find a lot of advertising is faux funny, (or not funny is another way of putting it), in that you can tell that it is a funny ad by the construction, but nobody actually laughs.
The Sony Radio campaign is genuinely funny.
I’ve never understood why more agencies don’t use proven funny men to help create the content of ads, rather than just read the words of unfunny admen.
They know funny.

TIM: When I worked on the Sony account, it was very personal to me.
I had pitched and won it with my art director and I wrote a lot for the campaign
(although not all the best stuff).
When we decided on doing radio, I knew that comedians would write way better than me or any advertising writer because radio is a very different form.
So I simply asked the funniest man in TV and Radio to write a campaign; and that’s how John Cleese came to write what I think it still one of the funniest and most effective radio campaigns.
We worked together – him as writer, me as producer/ sounding board for 9 years. In the last few years , he let me write and he would rewrite. A lovely man.

DAVE: It was obviously going well at BBDO, why leave?
TIM: It was a roller coaster at BBDO. The work was always good, and quite often great. But BBDO needed a bigger presence in the world’s third largest advertising market.
So I set about lining up potential agencies for NY to buy : Saatchi’s, CDP, BMP (which went close) and I realised that, by definition,  I was not really going to be part of what I was setting up, which was fine but I had to start thinking about my life and not just helping the BBDO people in NY, who I liked,by the way.

DAVE: Wasn’t AMV a BBDO target at the time?
TIM: When David first went over to form Abbott Mead Vickers, I think it was tougher going financially than he realised.
So they sought a partner. BBDO, myself and the MD, had talks but they chose to go with Scali McCabe Sloves in NY, which I think was a very good fit.
Later, of course, they were bought by Omnicom and became part of BBDO.

Tim Delaney, Zanussi 'Plug', BBDODAVE: How did you end up advising Prime Minister Jim Callaghan in 1978?
TIM: I had always wanted to help the Labour Party.
Then I bumped into Edward Booth Clibborn in Paris when he was plainly having an illicit weekend with someone other than his wife and to ease the embarrassment he started talking about his contacts in the Labour party publicity department.
It went from there.
I ended up working for 18 months on the campaign ( which famously got postponed from Autumn 1978 to Spring 1979) and then during the actual 5 week campaign I was in No 10 most nights of the week working with Tom McNally, David Lipsey and Roger Carroll.
Before they put gates up, I just used to park my second-hand Porsche outside No 10.
The campaign was an amazing experience; I had to write 4 10 minute Party Political Broadcasts and shoot them while I was running an agency.
Also, there were amazing dirty tricks going on during the campaign but mainly within the governing Labour party.
Despite that, we did well from the campaign point of view .
The Sunday before the election Thursday, Labour was just ahead from being 20 points down. But after the Tories spent a fortune in the last week, we lost by 32 seats. I tell people I’m responsible for Margaret Thatcher getting into Downing Street.

DAVE: Did you know Ron Leagas before starting an agency with him?
At BBDO, I decided I shouldn’t do be both MD + CD, so I went looking for an MD.
He was a candidate.

DAVE: Did you start with any business?
TIM:  No. I was MD of a business, so I felt I couldn’t take anything from that business.
In the event Sony fired BBDO after hearing that I was leaving and asked us to pitch for a part of their business. I said ‘No – it should be all or nothing.’
I didn’t believe the brand should have different voices from different agencies.
We got our first piece of business on the Friday of the first week.
We ran an ad for the agency that week and it got us another piece really quickly but it also got us into a law suit as we attacked another agency’s work.

Tim Delaney- Endell Street-01DAVE: ‘We’re going to rip business out of big agencies like tearing meat off a carcus.” I bet that made you popular?
TIM: Did I say that? It sounds good, I wonder where I found the nerve to say that.
Although I have always thought that big agencies were essentially lazy and not very talented. And we started with no accounts so we had to be confident of our ability and display a desire to handle big accounts not tiddlers.
Tim Delaney 'Riches?%22 Campaign-01

DAVE: I remember at college, not an advertising  college but a regular college for civilians, people were quoting the ‘Phirrips’ ad.
Did you know that script would ‘blow up’?
TIM: Utilising the same attitude as I had employed on Sony, we asked two of the funniest people on TV at the time to do some  scripts and recordings for our pitch for Philips.
It is a fantastic spot and the beginning of a great relationship with Mel and Griff, not just on this projects but on others.
We did a great job for Philips but they seem almost congenitally unable to let agencies tell what a great
 company they are.

Tim Delaney - Phillips Radio 'Phirrips'-01
(The whole campaign can be found here:  http://heywhipple.com/radio/  )Tim Delaney- Phillips Radio 'No Point'-01
Tim Delaney, Phillips 'Deidre'*Tim Delaney, 'Next Office'' D&AD*Scan_06822DAVE: Ron Leagas is out, why not chisel the blighter’s name off the door?
TIM: I believe agencies are brands and when you mess around with names on the door you confuse people, clients, with a kind of flightiness.
Our agency is commonly known as Leagas to this day and I’m cool with that.
Tim Delaney Article 'Direction', Early 80's-01Harvey Nichols, 'All England', Leagas DelaneyHarvey Nichols, 'Dhurries', Leagas DelaneyTim Delaney- Day By Day Article-01DAVE: Here’s one of your weeks in the eighties. Changed much?
TIM:   Life is pretty much the same except that almost all our client meetings and shoots involve travel. Plus we have offices Hamburg, I want to get to those as often as time allows.Tim Delaney, Tetley Bitter 'Blood' Tim Delaney, Tetley Bitter 'Maternity'*
Tim Delaney, Tetley Bitter 'Nouvelle'
DAVE: So by 1990, you’ve really got a handle on this firing malarky, you were even firing people who didn’t work for you.
Campaign, 'New D&AD Revelations', Tim Delaney-01
TIM: Edward Booth-Clibborn was Chairman of D&AD but was also running his publishing business from their offices.
It was a mess and there was all kinds of funny business going on.
We had a whistle-blower who our lawyers asked to sign an affidavit about the misdemeanours at D&AD and that left us no choice but to suspend the Chairman and the Financial Director.

Tim Delaney - Timberland 'Eyes Are Frozen'-01

Tim Delaney, Timberland 'Boot'Tim Delaney, Timberland 'Exposing'Tim Delaney, Timberland 'Non'Tim Delaney, Timberland 'Wagging Tongues'Tim Delaney, Timberland 'We stole'DAVE: You’ve been writing ads for that posh shop in
Knightsbridge in the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and noughties.
When are they coming back?

TIM: Clients create the advertising they think is right for their brand.
I cannot spend time lamenting what they do after they have moved on.
For Harrods , I think we did great work for 14 years.
What they do now is their business.
DAVE: Exactly, rubbish isn’t it?
Tim Delaney, Harrod's 'Come On' Tim Delaney, Harrod's 'Decorate' Tim Delaney, Harrod's 'Gives' Tim Delaney, Harrod's 'Nibs' Tim Delaney, Harrod's 'Santa'
Harrods, The Sale - Cutlery, Leagas Delaney
DJ -Harrods 010DJ -Harrods 016DJ -Harrods 026
Leagas Delaney Building-01
DAVE: I’ve read that you don’t believe ‘Advertising is something you can pass on to someone, it’s intuitive, a gift, like scoring goals in football’?
TIM: Being good at most things in life requires innate talent allied to effort and ambition. Messi, Suarez, Neymar : they probably all have brothers who are not  great footballers, however hard they train.
Advertising is like that. You either have it or you don’t. It’s why so many people pretend to have it – most account people pretend to understand how communications work; in my experience, not many actually do.

Linguaphone, 'Are you a man', Leagas DelaneyLinguaphone, 'The world is', Leagas DelaneyLinguaphone, 'Travel is supposed', Leagas Delaney
DAVE: Unlike a lot of advertising agencies you actually run advertising.
 In a revolution, everyone has to be a revolutionary otherwise you get your head chopped off. We run ads because the objectives of our clients’ comms programmes requires us to.
What you are referring to is the dumbing down of mere advertising by digital agencies who have little knowledge of brands and even less talent at persuading consumers of anything.
As Ishiguro the writer said recently, ‘Machines (technology) can work; it can’t imagine’. Clients respect 
ideas; its agencies and digital ones in particular who have lost – or never gained – respect for them.
DAVE: Exactly, Ishiguro, I was gonna quote him, but you beat me to it.Leagas Delaney 'Saatchi' Ad'Tim Delaney, 'Woolies ad'-01Tim Delaney, 'Front page', Hose ad-01Tim Delaney 'Butllin's'-01Leagas Delaney 'Chasing' Ad'Leagas Delaney 'Dated' Ad'Leagas Delaney 'Lescarbeau' Ad'Leagas Delaney 'Nationwide house ad' Ad'
DAVE: You pitched unsuccessfully for The Guardian, so ran an ad calling them chicken. A sure way to guarantee you never work with that client again.
But they appointed you soon after?
We knew we deserved to win the pitch.
The editor even said so.
But they fell for a ridiculous visual gag which ran out of steam as gags always do, and they came back to us for the substance in the campaign we made for them.
They told us not to run the ad, implying that we wouldn’t get a chance at the business again, but I did anyway.
They had foregone their right to tell us what to do with what were in effect our ads.
Leagas Delaney 'Guardian ran and ran' Ad'GuardianTim Delaney, Guardian 'Hotel'-01Tim Delaney, Guardian 'Needle'-01Tim Delaney, Guardian 'Newspapers'-01
DAVE: How did you end up being owned by a rival agency, Abbott Mead Vickers?
TIM: I decided that Leagas was not right. A nice guy but he simply wasn’t in the business for the reasons I was.
Trouble was, we were a partnership which means that you can’t fire someone, you have to break up the partnership.
So I had to roll the partnership into a limited company.
By the time I had done that, Leagas Delaney was losing money.
So I needed someone to pay Leagas to exit and put us back on an even keel again.
I could not have wished for better partners than David Abbott and Peter Mead.
Scan_0333 Scan_0328 Scan_0347Tim Delaney - Nationwide 'Richest'-01Nationwide_0003_DearMissDixon Nationwide_EncourageYouToSpend Money_0004Tim Delaney, Nationwide 'Banks Must Like Small Business'-01Tim Delaney, Nationwide 'Out Of My High Interest'-01
Tim Delaney, Nationwide 'Life Doesn't Give You 90 days Notice'-01DAVE: Did you collaborate with David Abbott much in those years?
TIM: David and I hardly met let alone collaborate.
He was respectful of our integrity which was repaid in the way we ran the company.
We were flat-out busy all the time so there was very little time for socialising or working on projects together.

DAVE: Although the art directors and Head of Arts have changed over the years, the work has always had a certain sophistication, or appreciation of style.
TIM: That must be down to my incredible aesthetic sensibility!!
Seriously, all you have to do is look at Helmut Krone’s work to know that populist campaigns should have a differentiating look and feel and that people quite easily distinguish between something crafted and thought through and sloppy, slap dash art direction.
Apple designs are beautiful and populist – that’s the short answer to your question.
If it was a question.
Ordnance Survey, 'Ever heard', Leagas DelaneyOrdnance Survey, 'John McAdam', Leagas Delaney
Ordnance Survey, 'Warning', Leagas DelaneyOrdnance Survey, 'Still There', Leagas DelaneyOrdnance Survey, 'Stuck here', Leagas DelaneyOrdnance Survey, 'Walk away', Leagas Delaney
DAVE: Don’t you ever get sick of writing all those tiny little words that nobody reads?
 I have always believed that if you write like you want people to read it, then people will do so.
Even the smallest piece of writing in the smallest leaflet.
What’s the alternative : write rubbish knowing believing that no one reads it?
That’s a kind of nihilism – although I’m pretty sure most so-called writers think that way nowadays.

DAVE: ‘I don’t like advertising, I just like ads’. Why?
Advertising as an industry is full of over blown, egotistical, opinionated weirdos. This is because no one knows exactly how it works.
So in the land of the blind etc,etc, a big character or personality can pretend to know the secret of how to win a piece of business, which slogan will catch on, what a client will buy. And so on.
But ads, they are crafted pieces of expression which have to be thought about, nurtured, learnt from.
It’s only the same as saying Hollywood is one thing, making a film is another.

DAVE: Something ‘chemical’ seemed to happen when you got together with Steve Dunn, you just churned out endless great campaigns?
TIM: Steve and I quickly and tacitly understood that we complemented each other.
We both loved what we did for a living ( although Steve did go off it for a while) and we both had the same idea of what constituted an idea.
We are both competitive too; we liked to win. Not so much awards, as beating a problem. You’re right though, it was a 
strangely productive relationship.
Some days we would 3 campaigns, all of them pretty good.

AVE: I remember when I worked with you there was a cupboard on the top floor stacked with digital people. 1995. Possibly the first in-house digital department?
TIM: Certainly we were very early adopting and adapting to digital.
We had a separate digital company  in 1996 – Digital Partners – which is way before Martin Sorrell knew how to spell the word;  kind of ironic now as people immediately think because we care about the craft of our work, particularly print, we can’t possibly ‘get’ digital .
Fortunately our clients know how good we are at providing digital ecosystems.

Tim Delaney, adidas 'We Knew Then' 1 Tim Delaney, adidas 'We Knew Then' 3 Tim Delaney, adidas 'We Knew Then' 4

DAVE: You might have gathered from this site that I’ve kept a lot of stuff; rejected ads for The Economist, alternative Nike layouts and pitches we lost at CDD, (they alone take up a lot of space),  but I didn’t take any proofs for the Patek Phillippe ads I did.
At the time, I thought ‘they’re ok’, but over time they’ve become a benchmark for luxury advertising. Is it the sheer consistency of message?
TIM: It’s not just the consistency of the campaign that makes it a benchmark for all luxury goods campaigns.

It started out quietly with the original thought of ‘Begin Your Own Tradition’ which gave rise to the longer line now ‘ You never actually own…etc’.  
So it took some time to get settled and then really never looked back.
Over the years we have updated the look and feel and the photographers.
It’s a wonderful campaign which reflects the values of the family that owns the brands and the products they create. Perfect harmony.PATEK PIANO small shad
Tim Delaney - Pictet 'Work'-01 Pictet_3 Pictet_2
Dave - Time Delaney
DAVE: I find that people who haven’t worked with you seem to have a totally wrong impression of you –  some kind of lanky, serious-minded maniac who fires people on a daily basis, I worked with you for five years and  never found you to be lanky.
TIM: I am lanky.

Tim Delaney - Tripp 'Steal'-01



Nb. If that’s not enough reading, here’s a bit more.Tim Delaney, Article-01
Tim Delaney 'Basics'-01

Tim Delaney, GQ 'The Delaneys, cover-01Tim Delaney, GQ article 'The Delaney's'-01Tim Delaney, GQ 'The Delaneys'-01Tim Delaney, GQ article 'The Delaneys 3'-01

BOSS No.5: Mark Denton

Mark Denton in plasticDAVE: Why advertising?

MARK: It all happened by accident. I was quite good at drawing as a kid and my Uncle had gone to Art School and had ended up as a Silversmith.
The Dentons weren’t that imaginative (they all worked in the Family Scrap business) so ‘good at drawing’ meant that I should go to Art School too.
My Mum thought I could get a job as one of those people who paint the patterns on the edge of plates (although I didn’t like the idea of leaving home and living in Stoke on Trent).

DAVE: Did you go to Art College?
MARK: I couldn’t get into a proper Art College because I didn’t have enough O-Levels, it was only a chance conversation with a stranger that pointed me in the direction of The Ravensbourne School of Vocational Studies and a three-year course in graphic design.
I got a job as a paste-up artist first at Knitting Digest and then at the now defunct Bridge Advertising.denton_samson_batteries denton_midas_exhausts denton_maxell_cobras_hiss denton_mcewans_deathdenton_beta_video_nasty denton_beta_japaneseDAVE: Who rejected you before Leo Burnett accepted you?
MARK: Bridge Advertising were crap but my boss used to work at Colman Prentis & Varley who were a pretty creative agency years earlier and he got me all fluffed up with tales of John Webster and D&AD, (which I hadn’t heard of up until that point).
I went for a couple of interviews armed mainly with my magic marker visuals, not ads, just illustrations.
I remember being turned down by Masius and a Creative Director at Euro who looked through my book and said ‘it doesn’t make my knob go hard’.
The Burnetts break happened when the Head of Typography Mike Brant hired me as his assistant because he needed someone to draw up his visuals.

DAVE: What was your first ad produced?
MARK: Can’t remember the first, but the earliest one I can recall that I liked was a 48 sheet poster for Perrier. In fact it was the only finished piece of print I had in my folio when I left Burnetts.
I  showed John Hegarty in my interview, I was particularly proud of it as I’d managed to talk a famous photographer, Barney Edwards, into shooting it.
John wasn’t so keen ‘I hate it’ he said as he flipped it over.
Mark Denton 1DAVE: What was your first good ad?
MARK: My job at Burnetts was drawing up other people’s ideas but I couldn’t help myself, I always tried to do a better one myself. I think I did most of my best work there but almost all of it didn’t go through.

They had an established poster campaign for Cadbury’s Creme Eggs that featured classical portraits of Kings and Queens eating the product with lines like ‘Henry’s Eighth’ and ‘Elizabeth’s First’.
I first got noticed for my writing skills when I drew up my versions ‘Quasimodo’s Umpteenth’, ‘Bunter’s Billionth’ and ‘Dracula’s lost Count’.
Probably my finest line was for Maxell tapes ‘Stop taping the hiss’ Of course it was thrown out before the marker ink dried.
The first good ad I made was a Cadbury’s commercial featuring Charlie Drake as a 16th century driver of a Turbo Sedan chair powered by Creme Eggs.
My boss was furious because I was only meant to draw some posters up and not stick my hooter into the telly. But it was too late once the account group had accidentally seen my storyboard.
It was the first ad I ever got into D&AD.

DAVE:  Did anyone notice you?
MARK: As I started to produce things I started to get noticed outside of the agency.

I made an animated commercial featuring hungry vultures for an orange drink called Quosh with the brilliant Oscar Grillo of Klactovesedstein.
I think he was very impressed that I’d drawn a tight storyboard upfront and he said that he liked my drawings which was praise indeed coming from Oscar.

It turned out very nicely and Oscar started to show it off a bit. Most notably to a bloke called Ron Collins. Now, Ron Collins happened to be one of the most famous creatives around town and the ‘C’ in WCRS the hottest hot-shop in London. He liked the ad and said that he’d be interested in meeting me.
The only trouble was that Ron had a fearsome reputation and I hate to admit it but I was too scared to go for an interview, I didn’t think I was ready.
About the same time my book was summoned over to GGT who in my opinion were doing by far the most exciting work around. I sent it over and got a call shortly afterwards thinking that I was going to get an interview.
I excitedly turned up at their Soho offices and was pointed at the lift by the receptionist. I pressed the button expecting to be whisked up to the creative department but the lift doors opened and there was my lone portfolio ready for me to pick it up with no comment.denton_creme_egg_donkeydenton_creme_egg_dolphin Mark Denton -cadbury_creme_egg_bright-01DAVE: How did you sneak under BBH’s cooldar and get a job?
MARK: When I was at Shepperton shooting the Creme Eggs ad this bloke wandered in from the next stage and started talking to me.
His name was Chris Palmer.
He was so knocked out with the set that he put me forward for the job at BBH.
He was in need of an art director because he’d spent his first 6 months working directly with John Hegarty whose regular writer Barbara Nokes was on maternity leave and now she was on her way back.LEVIS_New_Patch NEWS_ON_SUNDAY_Toiletpaper ART_DIRECTION_Campaign_Bow_Ties_02 ART_DIRECTION_Campaign_Bow_Ties_01DAVE: Was Hegsy scary?
MARK: I was shit scared of John Hegarty. I was aware that I’d got the job with Chris’s support and I might not have been Johns first choice.
I had a portfolio full of rough storyboards and very little else, I certainly had no beautifully crafted print to my name.
John Hegarty was arguably the most stylish Art director around town, so I had to learn to art direct pretty sharpish.
ST_IVEL_SHAPE_Fromage_Frais ST_IVEL_SHAPE_Kids ST_IVEL_SHAPE_Ploughman ST_IVEL_SHAPE_FamilyDAVE: Why team up with a shaggy haired bike messenger with only a years experience?
MARK: I would have teamed up with the office cat if it had got me into BBH.
Chris (Palmer) had only been in the business for six months but in that time he’d won a stack of awards, including six D&AD pencils, for his work with John on Levis, Pretty Polly and Dr White’s Tampons.
It worked out pretty well though, not only did we have very similar creative sensibilities we both felt that we had to pedal hard to make up for lost time.
Chris had spent a lot of time as a dispatch rider while I was in the studio at Burnetts and we were both in our late 20’s.
BURROUGHS_Test_Match_Special BURROUGHS_Pillow_Talk DAVE: You started to moonlight to build up your tv reel.
MARK; Even when I was at Bridge Advertising I used to see any photographers, illustrators agents, reps etc that called up to show off their wares. I’d often try to persuade them to help me make a spec ad.
When I got to BBH my credibility rocketed over night so suddenly it became relatively easy to convince visiting producers that their new director needed a pilot. I had a portfolio full of ads that had been turned down at Burnetts so rather than wait for a TV brief I kept the pot boiling with my own stuff.
Chris was every bit as keen as I was on producing extra-curricular work and before too long the pair of us started picking up awards and attracting new eager producers and photographers.

DAVE: Did any creatives take us under their wing.
MARK: No not really. We were chucked in the deep end and allowed to make mistakes, although mistakes weren’t that popular so we tried to make sure we got it right.
I spent untold hours studying the guard books trying to get the hang of art direction.
My visualising skill came in handy because I’d spend nights and weekends drawing and making animatics of our scripts, that was pretty unusual for creatives to do that.
Chris joined in too because he was a bloody good illustrator.

DAVE: Some of your work from this period is more GGT than BBH?
MARK: We loved the super stylish fruits of the BBH creative dept but we also used to love the brutal populist stuff that was coming out of GGT. We tried to get a few GGT style scripts past John but I remember him saying ‘we don’t do that kind of advertising here’ and to be fair he was right, they didn’t.
Asda 'Stork'Asda 'Snowman' Asda 'Chicken'ASDA_Super_Cow ASDA_FishFingers ASDA_Fresian_CowDAVE: Hegarty. Trott. Icke. Who’s been the bigger influence?
(That’s Norman Icke, not David.)
MARK: It’s hard to say, they were all massive influences. And the list could have been a hell of a lot longer.
I know how to polish my shoes correctly because I was in the Cub Scouts. I know how to art direct because I was at BBH when it was small enough for John Hegarty to care about the positioning of every full point. You don’t forget that stuff.
I loved GGT’s work so I made a study of it, I dissected it and I tried to emulate it. Obviously it would have helped if I’d worked there, I did try.
Not many people have heard of Norman Icke.
I shared an office with him at Burnetts and he taught me bucket loads. He was the inventor of the Milk Tray Man.
He was bloody brilliant. Had he worked at a better agency he might be as famous as John Webster or Alan Parker.

DAVE: Why leave BBH, cash?
MARK: I’ve never made any decisions about my career based on the cash (maybe I should’ve). We were only at BBH for just over 2 years and we were pretty prolific but we were gagging to do more telly.

DAVE: Lowe Howard-Spink was very good, but wasn’t it a bit old fashioned for a couple of hipsters like you and Chris?
MARK: It was simple, Lowes had big clients like Heineken, Whitbread, Vauxhall and the Mail on Sunday with famous TV campaigns. I remember getting a small rise but it was the promise of TV that tempted us over.
Oh, and posters I’ve always liked doing posters and the Heineken poster campaign was open to the whole creative department.
HEINEKEN_POSTERS_Godzilla5HEINEKEN_POSTERS_BayeuxHEINEKEN_POSTERS_HedgehogsHEINEKEN_POSTERS_Shakin_StevensHEINEKEN_Duncan_GoodhewDAVE: And you started making the tv you’d gone there for?
MARK: We were only at Lowes for 18 months and in that time we shot commercials for Heineken, Vauxhall, KP, The Mail on Sunday, and Ovaltine Light.
On top of that we did quite a bit of print including a lot of posters. Because the Heineken poster brief was open to the whole department we worked nights and weekends to ensure that we got one through. We drew up 70 fully coloured in concepts hoping that would do the trick.
It did. We made five in total and cleaned up at Campaign poster awards that year.
The biggest job we did was probably the 1988 Vauxhall Cavalier launch which was the largest ever UK car launch at that time. The brief had been in the agency for quite a while. I remember that we were presenting a cut of a Heineken commercial late on a Friday night and our creative directors asked if we could help out on Vauxhall. We showed them the script of the ad that eventually ran on the following Monday morning.

DAVE: How did the snappily titled SPDC & J come about?
MARK: In the first week that I started working with Chris we went to my clairvoyant, Madame Clare’ of Catford.
She predicted that we would have our ‘names over the door’ as well as being ‘in front of the camera’ and ‘behind the camera’…we took that to mean that we would have our own business together.
So when I got a phone call from this bloke I’d never heard of asking if we’d be interested in starting up a business I just cupped the receiver and said to Chris ‘it’s that phone call we’ve been waiting for.
LUNCHEON_VOUCHERS_Ketchup_Bandit LUNCHEON_VOUCHERS_Fiver LUNCHEON_VOUCHER_Skinny_PigLUNCHEON_VOUCHERS_Crocodile TANDON_Brains NRM_Platforms_48 NRM_Murder_6 NRM_Mallard_48 NRM_BuffetCar_6 NRM_Stuffed_6TERRENCE_HIGGINS_Be_Good_In_Bedhttps://vimeo.com/121730115

TERRENCE_HIGGINS_Be_A_Good_SportDAVE: You had a wall.
MARK: Yes we had a wall. It was out in the creative dept and it was where we we pinned up all of the work that was going through.
Every team had their own briefs that they were responsible for. They had to deliver on their own work but once me and Chris saw a concept that we liked it went up on to the wall in the common parts.
Anyone could come along and better the ad, even the Cleaner or the office cat for that matter. We put our work up there too and I’d like to think that even though it was our final decision on what ran we were as tough on our stuff as we were on everyone else’s.

It was quite a competitive environment (to put it mildly) but everyone seemed to benefit from it. Most creative’s who passed through the department got a pencil or two.
It was a very honest way of operating, everyone knew where they stood.

DAVE: Didn’t it get annoying when all the teams you’d picked up from nowhere and then trained, would leave for double their salaries?
MARK:  We loved it, the more awards we won the more other agencies would try to poach our teams. It meant that we were doing something right.
We liked it so much that we encouraged creatives to tell us when they’d got a call and when they’d had an interview we’d go through their book with them and ask ‘what did John Hegarty think of that ad? or did David Abbott like that one? No one had to sneak out of the office with their portfolio.
If they’d been made a better offer we’d tell them, but generally we didn’t get a lot of people jumping ship.

DAVE: Were Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow & Johnson part of the Third Wave?
MARK: After Howell Henry Butterfield Day and Woolhams Moira set up Campaign coined the phrase ‘the Third Wave’ ( The Second Wave being WCRS, BBH, GGT etc).
So given that we set up shortly after HHCL and WMGO then we were definitely part of that gang. After us came Duckworth Finn Grubb and Walters, Elgie Stewart Smith, Leagas Shaffron Davis Chick, Tilby and Leaves, Emerson Pond-Jones and others that I can’t remember.

DAVE: Did you hate HHCL’s guts?
DAVE: No, we didn’t hate them. We didn’t know them.
They did seem to take themselves a bit seriously so we probably gave them a bit of stick. (I still don’t get that First Direct ad with the buckets in it).
We loved absolutely stomping them at the awards though (which was made a tad easier for us because they had a policy of not entering). So effectively we won a competition that they didn’t know they were in. ‘CHAMPIONS!!!’

DAVE: For Bottoms Up, you cast the bloke in the office next door, couldn’t you be arsed to do a casting session?
MARK: ‘Bottoms Up’ was one of those rushed jobs where we won the business and they wanted the advertising immediately.
We came up with a concept that required an ‘Alfred E. Neuman’ (MAD magazine) type of character. Andy (Mackay) had a funny face, it seemed like a natural course of action.BOTTOMS_UP_Sante BOTTOMS_UP_Salud BOTTOMS_UP_Prost BOTTOMS_UP_ChinChin BOTTOMS_UP_UppyajumpaDAVE: Were you bothered about awards?
MARK: Awards were all important. I just wanted to win more than anyone else it’s as simple as that. I’ve always been competitive.
I remember when I first met my wife and was introduced to her eight year old daughter. After an emotionally charged game of Monopoly they described me as a ‘bad winner’. Maybe it’s because I come from a big family and we all had to fight for attention.
But as far as advertising goes I only wanted to win a gong by doing a good ad.
Our starting point was never ‘lets do something to impress a jury’ it was always about doing a great advert. One that sells.
I’ve always loved to hear about how many units an ad has shifted. Generally my ads look like ads, I’m not a ‘small logo’ type of art director.BHF_Spelling_It BHF_Exercise BHF_CigaretteCROWN_FM_Know_Your_Arts CROWN_FM_Dow_Joneses CROWN_FM_Capitalist_RadioDAVE: How did you survive the first couple of years?
MARK: We were crap at new business to start with (Clare never told us about that bit). So we tried to make the biggest splash by putting a lot of our minuscule clients on 48 sheet posters. Slumberdown Duvets, Luncheon Vouchers, The National Railway Museum, Greenpeace, etc etc all got 48 sheet campaigns.
It was bloody tough, we paid ourselves a pittance and we were very close to the wire in our 3rd year I remember.
Quite a few of those Third Wave agencies had failed around this time.
ART_DIRECTION_SlumberdownDAVE: Was it company policy to hire nobodies, like me?
MARK: Yes, but most importantly we hired nobodies that wanted to be somebodies.
You can’t beat a modicum of creative talent coupled with a whiff of desperation, it’s a very intoxicatingly powerful combination.
Plus nobodies are cheaper and more malleable than somebodies.GREENPEACE_FU_GBhttps://vimeo.com/123434824

DAVE: You win Nike, not the creative prize that it is today, and probably not that big at the time?
MARK: We’d obviously been doing something right. The work we’d done for Wrangler in particular had got a bit of recognition in an arena dominated by Levi’s.
So even though Nike wasn’t the big deal in the UK that is today, it was still very flattering to be on their list.
We were aware of some of the great work that Wieden and Kennedy had done in the States but our main point of reference to the brand was the award wining press stuff that had been done by FCO in the UK.
DAVE: A lot of this stuff looks identical to the Weiden’s work, did you have anything to do with them?
MARK: We met Dan Wieden when we first picked up the business and we visited Wieden’s in Portland. Having not known much about their campaign prior to winning the account we were bowled over by the work. It wasn’t just the concepts it was their ballsy attitude too.
It felt really fresh compared to a lot of UK work.

So early on we tried to learn from the masters and emulate the look and tone that had been set up.
Of course after five minutes we started to get confident and before long we had our own take on things.
NIKE_PRESS_BabyNIKE_PRESS_Shape_You're_InNIKE_PRESS_XRay_Foot NIKE_PRESS_Runner_IllustrationNIKE_Ian_Wright_BabyDAVE: You started with press ads that were good but quite sensible, then you start doing more expressive, emotion based posters?
MARK: We were only hired to do the specialist football print and press stuff because at that time the Yanks didn’t know much about soccer but we didn’t let that stop us, before you knew it we had one of the biggest poster campaigns ever running in London and with the help of our super-ruthless/talented creative dept we started winning tons of awards for the work.NIKE 'Jordan', Mark DentonNIKE_POSTER_Except_The_BallNIKE 'It's Not The Winning' Mark DentonDAVE: You then start to playing around more with the imagery and bringing back squashed up type, which was very old-fashioned at the time.
MARK: I saw the trend in US magazines and it felt a bit different to what was happening UK advertising at the time so I thought it would be worth a punt.NIKE_PRESS_Courts_Can_Be_Hard NIKE_PRESS_Beat_Your_OpponentNIKE_PRESS_Painted_FootNIKE_PRESS_Giving_Up
DAVE: The 1990 Olympic campaign really got you noticed.
MARK: It was the biggest poster campaign that we’d done at that point and we were delighted with the creative work and the initial reaction that it got.
That all soured slightly when after very immodestly showing off about the prowess of Nike’s athletes they one by one got knocked out of the competition.
NIKE 'Traffic_Control' Mark Denton NIKE 'Algerian' Mark Denton NIKE 'Johnson' Mark DetonDAVE: After shouting from the rooftops about all these athletes who are going to storm The Olympics, they all strike out.
MARK: Actually in hindsight it was a great result for us, we just got talked about even more.NIKE_PRESS_Put_Foot_In_It 
DAVE: The campaign then really hits a peak, with the famous ‘Cobblers’ poster.
MARK: Didn’t you have something to do with this one Dave?
NIKE_Poster_CobblersDAVE: You don’t look for what’s cool do you?
MARK: I’m not anti-cool…but you’re right, looking for something I like is always more important to me than looking for something that’s fashionable.

DAVE: Then you push it all over the map, I mean that in a good way.
MARK: It wasn’t a conscious decision to keep changing the look of the Nike campaign I just found myself wanting to nudge it in different directions.
Of course it was important that everything hung together but tweaking the look kept it fresh. 
NIKE_POSTERS_A_Want_The_Ball NIKE_POSTERS_A_Behind_Every_GreatNIKE_POSTERS_A_Your_Hands_Can't NIKE 'Sampras' Mark DentonNike.Cant.96.1a_web Nike.Jockstrap.1a_web NIKE 'U Turn' Mark Denton

NIKE_POSTER_Make_WarDAVE: When I showed you this ad you said ‘I like it, now do one that looks nothing like it’.
MARK: I remember you presenting something that looked like a Nike ad but I wanted all the Nike print to feel like they hung together but were slightly different. I think that was mainly because we still had so few clients and I would have been bored with just one look.
Tourist Information 2DAVE: It ended up like this.Tourist Informationhttp://youtu.be/j43sBiQUndo

DAVE: You shot three ads with Tony, that was probably a record at the time, but you were on the verge of tears when you saw what Tony had shot and cut together on ‘Kick It’ . (Bad tears by the way, not tears of joy.)?
MARK: Tony had just started making a name for himself when we first met him. He’d recently cleaned up with his solid fuels cat, dog and mouse ad and had done some other really cracking work like ‘Abbey Endings’.
Me and Chris were alone working in Simons Palmer DENTON’s first offices which were over a fish restaurant in Covent Garden when we heard the front door bell ring. It was about 10.30 at night so we both wondered who it might have been given it was so late.
We opened the door and in bounds a very animated Tony Kaye. I can’t remember exactly what he said but he was so enthusiastic that when he left we both turned to each other and said ‘we’ve got to work with him’ (even though at that time we didn’t have many TV briefs knocking around).
I think the first opportunity presented itself when Greenpeace needed a 3 minute film to highlight the potential environmental problems that were facing Antartica. There was bugger all in the budget but fortunately Tony agreed to do it.
It was like no other shoot I’d ever been on. Exciting, disorganised, dangerous, emotional (I remember Tony crying when our producer tried to explain that the commercial really had to be finished in time for an international conference on Antarctica. I can’t remember if it ever got finished on time)….and very, very, very creative.
I loved the end result but in all honesty I think I loved the process even more. It gave me the kind of feeling in my testicles like when you go over a hump-backed bridge at high-speed. So we let Tony loose on our next ad too which was a hair and beauty ad for a shampoo. The end result was every bit as bad as the previous ad was good. It seemed like Tony was a risky proposition, you either got magnificence or WTF!!!, nothing in between.
That’s why he was the obvious choice for our first Nike commercial ‘Kick it’. We wanted something that was going to blow everyone’s socks off, so despite the possible risk factor we were prepared to board the Tony Kaye roller coaster for the thrill of it and the potential big rewards.
And he didn’t disappoint.
I’m not going to bother trying to explain the advertising idea in ‘Kick it’ . No one would ever be able to work it out by watching the finished film. As before it was a fantastically exciting shoot but we had a lot of fights along the way trying to wrestle it to resemble the original script. In the end I stopped fighting because I thought there was the danger that any forced compromise between Tony’s vision and ours would be less good.
I remember when the finished film was presented to the client. He said ‘this is nothing like the script that I bought’ and we said ‘No, but it’s good isn’t it’. He agreed, it ran, we all won lots of awards and more importantly I’d like to think that it contributed towards elevating Nike from the number two sports brand in the UK to the top spot.
There was actually a fourth spot that we shot with Tony for Wrangler.
No one’s ever seen it . It was a speculative film which featured a black rodeo rider. There was no budget, Tony just liked the script and jumped on a plane to Texas. Only an early rough cut exists because unfortunately we lost the Wrangler account before it could be finished. Shame, I think it could have been one of our best bits of work.
One of the downsides of being a director is that I don’t get to work with people like Tony, I really miss that.

DAVE: I only remember being allowed to enter your office once, what the hell went on in there?
MARK: Having a lock on the door was probably my idea and the polar opposite of all that’s in the management books. No one was allowed to disturb us in the morning up until 12.00. No wonder they fired us.
The_Sun_Gotcha The_Sun_Lose_A_Million The_Sun_Sales_Figures The_Sun_Pin_This_To_Your_Office The_Sun_Booking_An_Ad_Mirror The_Sun_An_Insertion
DAVE: You’re great with clients, but you didn’t deal with them much then?
MARK: I was nervous in meetings, Chris was exceptionally good at presenting so I had no reason to do the meetings then.
We fielded our best player. It’s only when I became a director and I found myself in pre-production meetings that I discovered that I was not only good in front of an audience but I actually enjoyed it.

DAVE: The Wrangler campaign was very unusual at the time.
MARK: Levis had the sexiest advertising at the time and the lions share of the jeans market. The number two brand Pepe were a long way behind. And even further down the chart was Wrangler.
We did a lot of research with the target 15-25 year olds and they slagged off Wrangler mercilessly.
They hated the ‘W’ on the back pocket in particular. So rather than running away from the ‘W’ we chose to make it the hero of the campaign.

Our line ‘Be more than just a number’ not only encouraged the punters to be an individual and wear something other than Levis but it also pitched the ‘W’ against the number 501. That was our theory anyway.
But everyone knows ‘it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it’.
We knew that we couldn’t compete with Levis on their own turf, executionaly or budget wise so we made our telly much grittier than theirs by setting it in a warts’n’all NYC and by picking a soundtrack that Levis wouldn’t have gone anywhere near, ‘Crosstown Traffic’ by Jimi Hendrix.
The follow-up commercial was shot in black and white and was set in LA with an all black cast.
The accompanying poster campaign featured graphic interpretations of the letter ‘W’ just to get the youngsters thinking differently about the thing they said they hated about the product.
Before very long Wrangler were the number two brand and the advertising was getting talked about. And then we parted company with the client (I can’t remember why now).

WRANGLER_Posters_SuperHero WRANGLER_Posters_Dog WRANGLER_Posters_Pants_W WRANGLER_Posters_Dragon WRANGLER_Russian WRANGLER_PRESS_Tank_Girl WRANGLER_PRESS_Rodeo WRANGLER_PRESS_Biker_Vicar Wrangler_HairDAVE: How did a  small agency pick up the biggest account in the country?
MARK: We wouldn’t have got anywhere near a pitch for the BT business if it hadn’t been for me and Chris having a reputation for writing ‘pilot’ commercials.
I’d always done speculative work ever since I was a visualiser at Burnetts. After a few years working with Chris we calculated that we had shot a couple of million £’s worth of pilots (THT, Samson, Mail on Sunday, etc etc etc) and we’d won loads of awards as a result (The Grand award at NY Festivals, Golds at Cannes and BTA, D&AD pencils, a BAFTA, the lot).
The secret was to not only make them good, they had to be for a real client, one you could possibly sell the ad to when it was finished.
We were approached by one of the hottest ‘pop promo’ directing duos in town Vaughn and Anthea. Despite the fact that they were knocking out extremely stylish promos for some of the top acts around at the time (George Michael, Simply Red etc) they couldn’t get arrested in Adland. It was much harder to make the transition from music videos to adverts back then and they were desperate.
So desperate in fact that they gave us a ring and asked us to write them a pilot to put them on the map. We had a word with Carl (Johnson) and said what client do we want? He said that the biggest spenders next to the COI were BT so before you know it Simon (Clemmow) was doing some research and knocking out a brief for BT.
We write a bunch of scripts, give them to V&A and they take them home to have a ponder. The next week they were back in our office telling us that they like the scripts so much that they were going to shoot two of them (we didn’t know at the time that they mortgaged their flat to raise the money!)
The shoot went bloody well and the ads turned out even better than we expected. Then we put the finished spots back into research, called up the BT client and to cut a long story short secured the lions share of the BT account.
Of course, always being one’s for paying back debts Vaughn and Anthea ended up shooting 11 commercials for us over the next year or so.

BT_Makes_All_The_Difference BT_Give_Him_A_Lift BT_Ah_The_BeautyDAVE: Why did you get kicked out?
MARK: We were awkward.
I would have kicked us out if I were the other partners.
I was only 31 when we started the business and I’d only been a proper art director for five years.
No one had taught me about the mechanics of the business and how to get along with people, I naively thought that if the work was good then everything would be ok.
What I didn’t realise was that when it all went pair-shaped for us I was holding a very good hand of cards, I just happened to play them badly.

DAVE: Did you offers to stay in advertising? 
MARK: After the SPDC&J experiment I didn’t fancy starting up again because I didn’t trust the process, so I thought I’d try my hand at directing while I decided what I wanted to do.
I can’t remember anyone offering me a job at the time so it was an easy decision.
Tell a lie, David Abbott called and we met him but I really didn’t fancy working for anyone else after I’d got a taste of being my own boss

DAVE: It’s interesting hearing you ‘recount your journey’, as Mark Maron says. The nagging question for me is; You’re the son of a scrap metal magnate and you have the words ‘MARK’ and ‘DENT’ in your name, that’s got to be deliberate?


The Economist. Venn.

I worried about The Economist.
It was an open brief, which meant the whole AMV/BBDO creative department would work on through the year, in downtime, lunch hours and weekends, depending on hunger levels.
This had been going on for about ten years.
When I was Creative Director on the account, on average, for every ad I’d approve, fifteen would be rejected; there were twenty something creative teams.
So, with four bursts of ten posters every year for ten years and a few one-offs and specials thrown in, I’d say that about a thousand executions had run and about fifteen thousand concepts had been created.
But my main worry was whether they had lost an element of freshness to the public.
Awards were certainly down. No campaign continues to win as much once it becomes very familiar.
Here are a few of the 48 sheets Sean and I did at the time.
Economist artwork 48 sheets The Economist - %22Lose The Ability...%22-01The Economist - %22Mind%22-01

One day, whilst driving home, I spotted a big red poster in the distance, I couldn’t tell for quite a while whether it was one that Sean and I had done.
It got me thinking, the format is unbelievably well branded, but ten years on, do civilians approach the posters in a similar way? Thinking “Oh…there’s one of those red Economist posters, I’m sure it’s saying something witty about intelligence, but I can’t be arsed to read it.”
In a nutshell: Were they getting too predictable?
I thought the colour and font were so distinctive we could try and add an element of surprise and freshness by producing a mini campaign every quarter, that continued with the same messages but had a slightly different graphic look.

I spotted a venn diagram in Vanity Fair, a red circle overlapping a blue circle,
a bit like this one:

I thought it’d be a great variant on the red look, and different, but a clever structure to write to.
I had a go at writing some.
The Economist Venn Scribbles (g)-01 The Economist Venn Scribbles (e)-01
The Economist Venn Scribbles (c)-01 The Economist Venn Scribbles (a)-01
It was a like a Mensa Test: One circle is red and says: “Reads The Economist”,
the blue circle says something else that’s clever, and the bit at the bottom says
something that is the summation of this that is both clever AND funny.
I couldn’t do it.
I just couldn’t unlock the formula.
I explained it to Sean.
He rattled off a load:
The Economist Venn Scribbles (b) *-01
Once he’d unlocked the formula, I started start writing them too.
The Economist Venn ScribblesDPS (a)-01
We loosened up a bit and started swearing.
But as the scamp below indicates, were still to discover the spellcheck filter.The Economist Venn Scribbles %22Tourettes%22-01

They were sold, bought and art-worked.
c2587af0df018aacb9db0bef851d54be0049d7e2e4782bb2fd2574389e11999bb8863393bc08ffc2f1c5272da59acf3beddeff54e390924c5ee8566e27672ca3The Economist , venn, No 106b9484e970a027acb66e1779fac3a602e77a2ad0e48b1a67db8fde60235d93b0

Then, C.E.O Andrew Robertson came in: “I can’t do it, The Red campaign was David Abbott’s gift to the agency.”
It was decided we should run them along side the familiar red ads.

They worked well as cross-track posters, people could get the structure, then see how it played out, whilst waiting for their delayed train.

multi line 

These ideas were bought, proofed and cromalined.
They got pulled at the last minute for various reasons.

REASON: You can probably guess. (It’s surprising it got so close to running, it’s funny though.)

REASON: It’s a bit weird. (Although one of my favourites.)

REASON: Why risk offending Jezza?

REASON: It mentions a brand name.

REASON: It’s a bit childish, although it does use a lot of long words.21aedc1f4a91b64721d8f82b362661e3

A whole bunch of rejects were ganged up as a possible cross track, but didn’t happen.
The Economist - Venn, Rejects-01

The following year, posters in the red style were deemed sufficiently fresh to win a D&AD pencil ( “Jigsaw”) and a Campaign Posters Gold (“Long Copy”).
So perhaps Andrew was right, it was ‘David Abbott’s gift’.


In 2009, we pitched for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
As the recession was just starting to bite and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles were generally dearer than non-Volkswagen commercial vehicles.
I thought we needed to find a writer who could write.
Someone who could put together a reasoned argument as to why businessmen should pay more for something they could buy for less.
It’s a tough brief.
I tried to think who’d fit it, but couldn’t think of anyone.
I’d recently picked this ad as my classic for the NNMA Annual.ddb_hires1

That’s the kind of writer we need someone like David Abbott.
Right, who can can I get who writes like that?
I’d ask mates if they knew any David Abbott types.
Then I realised, finding a David Abbott type is like finding a David Bowie type.
They’re not types, they’re individuals.
I thought the only way to move on was to get a “No” from David, then, having got that idea out of my head, I could think afresh.
“I’m terribly rusty, I haven’t written an ad in years.”
Me; “It’s only thinking, I’m sure you’ll remember how to do it.”
He tentatively agreed to meet and discuss it.
I got a cab around to his lair.
Moments before, I had taken delivery of the first, hot-off-the-press, copy of the Creative Circle Annual I’d designed with Mark Denton.
Inside was a big feature on David, (he’d been given the President’s Award).
Sod it, I’ll give him that copy, it’s a nice gesture.
I was ushered in to his very stylish apartment, all mahogany and faded first edition book spines, the smell of roasting coffee beans mingling with the wafting classical music.
Sophisticated like.
As I handed the Annual to him, I was aware it didn’t quite fit the surroundings.

Exhibit A:
He looked at it quizzically, like he was trying to figure out how it worked.
Like any creative, he flicked straight to his bit.
As the pages were flicking by, I had a horrific flashback; Two months before, when we had nearly completed the annual, Mark had an idea ‘Let’s have those little headers they have in comics, y’know ‘Billy Whizz he’s full of… jizz’… those little rhyming bits.
It was a good idea, but it meant writing about sixty meaningless rhymes in a couple of days.
We split the task, thirty each.
In my pile was the Presidents Award section, the recipient was David Abbott.
I didn’t think much of it at the time, it was just one of an endless pile I had to write.
I wrote about six and showed them to my mate opposite our office – Billy Mead, the famous Film Editor, he scanned down the list and burst out laughing at one that said ‘He’s Abbo, he’s original, but he’s no aboriginal’.
In it went.
Now, I’m sitting opposite him as his eyes hit the page, move up to read the legend ‘He’s Abbo, he’s original, but he’s no aboriginal’.
tv latest fri 22.08
It’s difficult to describe his expression, a kind of confused wince.
He closed the book ever so carefully placing it on the table slowly, as if it might contain an undetonated explosive device, “So what is this project of yours, tell me about it”.
We had a great chat and he agreed to give it a go.
He called three hours later: “Dave, I didn’t realise you’d designed that book, I’m so pleased now that I wasn’t rude about it”.
We cracked on.
He went from tentative to full on pretty quickly, pinging over updates and improvements regularly.
He was on top of every detail, improving and polishing all the time.
It was very impressive, he cared when he could’ve just dabbled.
This was my favourite of the ads we did:

Here’s a few of the others:

Whilst we were working with David, I’d been very careful to tell everyone at DHM to keep it quiet, I didn’t want it getting out because it may look like we had used him as some kind of P.R. or pitch stunt.
We were working with him for what he could do not who he was.
We pitched.
After reading out the first bit of copy, the senior client said “That’s well written”.
I smiled and read the next one.
“That’s well written too.”
I read the third and final piece of copy.
“Very well written, who wrote that?”
Who asks that?
Who cares, Kevin the copywriter upstairs, what difference does that make?
That’s just some of the things I didn’t say, I just smiled awkwardly thinking how do I answer that? The client took it as a sign that I was chuffed because I had written them and was being modest.
Senior Client; “You wrote them?”
I looked at my partners, one said tell him.
“It was a chap called David Abbott” I said.
Younger client; “David Abbott in the Parts Division?” (I kid you not.)
Senior Client; “THE David Abbott?”
The intermediary was looking at me incredulously, thinking “why is he making this up?”
Anyway, we pitched, they LOVED the work, said it was the best advertising they’d seen and the only work that captured the Volkswagen tone of voice.
Obviously they didn’t give us the business.
They gave it to Iris because they could do everything under one roof.

Here’s some of the other work from the presentation: