Raleigh Bicycle Company, Nottingham, circa 1986
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 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 promotional 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 Ltd
U2's The Joshua Tree. Photo: Anton Corbijn.
I spent almost 15 years doing-and-learning as an account man, researcher, writer and producer at creative boutiques and multi-national agencies in London, San Francisco and Tokyo, on a wide variety of accounts that included the U.K. Department of Trade & Industry, GE, Harrods, Ray-Ban, Island Records, Smash Hits, Boots, Mars, Boston Market, AT&T, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
I started my own Agency on the 4th July 1999, just weeks after I was laid off by a cost-cutting McCann Erickson. 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. I never looked back.