Join me, if you will, for a trip down memory lane.
Thanks to the exhaustive archive of Dave Dye, I have been granted the much-coveted opportunity to read a copy of Direction magazine (now defunct; couldn’t find it in the first three pages of a Google search) from January 1987.
It’s pretty boring, but there is an interview with BBH creatives Steve Hooper and Dennis Lewis that gives us a few insights into advertising life 22 years ago:
‘Hooper and Lewis, affable though they are, are not your regular BBH guys. Neither frequents a gym, nor are they habitual users of hair gel (pots of which can be found next to the hand-driers in BBH loos). Both dress down, preferring nice woolies to crisp Kenzos.
‘”I’m trying to build a department with more Catholic tastes, skills and desires,” says Hegarty.’
Well, whatever Sir John did, it worked, but I’d like to know if BBH really was populated by hair-gelled, Kenzo-wearing, Catholic bodybuilders. Did you work there in 1987? Can you confirm this? (By the way, from the appearance of my current BBH friends, I’d say that if this policy existed back then, it has definitely lapsed.)
Further on, we may be able to clear up a small point: Steve and Dennis say that in their previous job at BMP ‘…working for Trott and Reynolds was confusing, and it was hard to get anything out of it. They were like the North and South Poles. If Trotty liked an ad, Mike would hate it, and vice versa.” In the end Trott gave them a three-month warning: “Get it together or go!”. “We just couldn’t handle that situation. We were confused juniors trying to produce something brilliant with the Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.
‘They didn’t and were promptly sacked. “We went to pieces,” reflects Lewis.’
Mr Trott, if you’re reading this, would you like to give us your side of this story? It did happen in 1979, so it’s possible you don’t remember, but I don’t think it’s fair that they’ve had a public forum to suggest you didn’t coax the latent genius from their tortured souls without you having a chance to set the record straight. I suspect it’s one of those things where a boot up the arse can be the best thing for you, after all Steve and Dennis went on to a multi-awarded career post-BMP.
And if anyone else has any similar info, such as the colour of the bog roll in Allen, Brady and Marsh or whether the creative department of French Gold Abbott favoured red Kickers, I’d be delighted to pass it on. Equally, if you feel like you weren’t given a fair crack of the whip by your CD at Hedger Mitchell Stark or Grounds Morris, we can thrash that out right here.