Man Quits UK Agency

09 May 2005

An advertising executive last week announced his departure from a US-owned London advertising agency. His reported intention is to start a rival shop.

Ho hum, you say?

Er, not quite. The man in question is believed by uncomplicated souls in London's media village to walk on water. Labels such as 'guru' and 'advertising genius' have been attached to his person in recognition of a number of famous and provocative promotional campaigns.

The most successful of which by far is for a brand called ... Trevor Beattie.

Famous for being famous, Beattie has capitalized on his laddish persona, frequent TV appearances, jet-black curly halo and explicit vocabulary. He was until last week chairman and creative director of Omnicom's TBWA/London.

But on what is now known in the environs of London's Fitzrovia as Black Thursday, Beattie gathered around him a phalanx of agency colleagues and industry media acolytes to announce his departure along with deputy creative director Bill Bungay and TBWA ceo.Andrew McGuinness.

The trio plan to open a new shop called, with archetypal creative inspiration, Beattie McGuinness Bungay. It will apparently focus on product placement.

Such is the potency of the Beattie legend that news of his departure attracted headlines across the global advertising press and a lengthy adoration in the MediaGuardian section of the British news daily.

In a manner worthy of an Oscars acceptance speech, the guru declared himself broken-hearted to be leaving TBWA. "It's where my soul was. It broke me up and it still does," he emoted to an awed Guardian reporter. The decision was "the toughest I have ever had to make", he told the journo. "It took me three attempts to get the sentence out."

Beattie is also remembered for a number of campaigns that attracted notoriety.

Among these were fashion brand French Connection UK, whose acronym (hitherto used only as company shorthand) he transmogrified into a promotional snigger that wowed British thirteen year-olds of all ages.

Another Beattie creative triumph - on behalf of Wonderbra in 1994 - followed in the aesthetic tradition of tabloid pin-ups. His concept, picturing the amply endowed supermodel Eva Herzigova in black bra and briefs, moved a billion B-cups and a trillion auto collisions.

But despite the adulation of the trade press and others, Beattie has of late seemingly lost his ability to retain TBWA clients such as Abbey National and NewsCorp's UK unit, News International. The guru, however, refutes that these defections have anything to do with his departure.

The agency has moved swiftly to replace the departing managerial trio, with TBWA Europe president, Paul Bainsfair, assuming the joint role of chairman and chief executive of the London shop.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff