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Raleigh Bicycle Company, Nottingham. Circa 1986

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 agencies client, Raleigh Bikes, and an under-age bar-keep in a wine bar & restaurant next door to the London Palladium.

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.

"Enthusiasm, tenacity and luck will determine your future, so aim to get lucky!"

Sir David Tang 

 

Mark Whitty [Worldwide] CEO

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U2's The Joshua Tree. Photo: Anton Corbijn.

In all, I spent almost 15 years doing-and-learning as an account man, researcher, writer and producer at some good, bad and in-different 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, Roche, Boots, Mars, Boston Market, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. 

 

I started my own Agency in 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 $30MM account.

 

Payback-is-sweet, and I never looked back.

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