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Remembering British Advertising Legend David Abbott

Remembering British Advertising Legend David Abbott

It may be David Abbott’s most famous ad. One that, as one obituary put it, probably also best captured the intelligence, wit and humanity of his work.

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Abbott, an ad legend admired for both his creative skill and gentlemanly ways, passed away this weekend at age 75. Abbott founded Abbott Mead Vickers in 1977 with Adrian Vickers and Peter Mead. The agency went public in 1985 and became part of the BBDO network in 1991 as AMV BBDO. During his years at the agency, Abbott created some of advertising’s most memorable ads (including the one above) and was known as one of the best writers in the game.

In a statement to U.K. marketing publication The Drum, Mead said: “He meant more to me than I can possibly express in words. He transformed my life from the moment I met him some 45 years ago. When he joined Adrian Vickers and me in our little agency it was like Lionel Messi joining Millwall. His talent catapulted AMV into the advertising stratosphere.”

When Abbott stepped down in 1998, he pointed to the keys of running a great agency:

“You care about two things. You care about quality–in everything you do. From the chairs in reception, to the way you answer a phone, to a piece of typography, to the ideas you have, to the research you put your name to, to the meetings you hold, to the way you hang a picture, to the way you crop a photograph or write a line.

Quality is always possible and always under threat, but if you don’t seek and defend it you won’t be satisfied and you won’t be happy.

The second thing you must care about? That’s easy. It’s each other.”


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