The Raleigh Bicycle Company, Nottingham, England.
Mark Whitty [Worldwide]
I got my start in advertising as a 16 year old studio messenger at an agency in London. Within a year, I was also an apprentice paste-up-artist, a model for the agency's client, Raleigh Bikes, a student at The Chartered Institute of Marketing and an under-age barman at a bohemian wine bar in Soho.
One day, brimming with the confidence of ignorance, and driven by the need to make some real money, I started dialing my way through the Yellow Pages in an attempt to drum-up sales leads. A desperate publicity manager at Island Records asked me to pay a call ASAP, and I came back with a brief to produce the ad campaign for U2's landmark album, The Joshua Tree.
Nothing seemed impossible.
"Curiosity, tenacity and luck will determine your future, so aim to get lucky!"
Ray Knowles, Fleet Illustrating
U2's The Joshua Tree. Photo: Anton Corbijn.
I spent 15 years doing-and-learning as a researcher, producer and account man at creative boutiques and multi-national agencies in London, Tokyo and San Francisco, on a wide variety of accounts that included the U.K. Dept. Trade & Industry, GE, Harrods, Island Records, Ray-Ban, Boots, Mars, Boston Market, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
On Independence Day in 1999, just weeks after I was laid off by a cost-cutting McCann Erickson, I started my own Agency. Our first 18 months were a roller coaster ride. But then it was announced in the Wall Street Journal that we'd defeated McCann in a pitch for a $50MM account.
Payback-is-sweet and I never looked back.