David Abbott (advertising)

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For other people named David Abbott, see David Abbott (disambiguation).
David Abbott
Born London, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Alma mater Merton College, Oxford
Occupation Advertising executive, copywriter, creative director, author

David John Abbott (October 11, 1938 – May 17, 2014[1][2]) was a British advertising executive who founded Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. He was one of the most celebrated advertising executives in the world and regarded as the greatest copywriter of his generation.[3] Highlights of his career include the creation of the J.R. Hartley television commercial for Yellow Pages as well as work for Volkswagen, Volvo, The Economist, The RSPCA, Sainsbury's Supermarkets and Chivas Regal.[4]

Career History[edit]

Born in Hammersmith, south-west London, David Abbott won a scholarship to read History[5] at Merton College, Oxford but left before graduating to nurse his sick father who was ill with cancer and who later died.[6] Abbott started as a copywriter working in-house at Kodak after discovering a book at a market stall about advertising on Madison Avenue.[7] In 1963 he then moved to the Mather & Crowther agency before moving to the Manhattan-based Doyle Dane Bernbach 1965.[8]

At Doyle Dane Bernbach, Abbott was taken under the wing of Bill Bernbach, the visionary creative director of DDB.[9] In 1971 he returned to the UK and founded French Gold Abbott.[10] Then in 1977 Abbott co-founded Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO alongside Adrian Vickers and Peter Mead in 1977, having first met Vickers at Oxford University in 1959.[11] The agency's clients included Volvo, Sainsbury's, Ikea, Chivas Regal, The Economist, Yellow Pages, and the RSPCA.[12] In 1991, BBDO acquired a stake in AMV and appended their name.[13]

Abbott retired from advertising in October 1998 at the age of 60 to concentrate on writing his first novel.[14]

Awards and accolades[edit]

David Abbott was D&AD President in 1975 and President's Award Winner in 1986.[15]

The One Club for Art and Copy inducted Abbott into its Creative Hall of Fame in 2001[16] three years after he retired. Abbott is only the second Briton after David Ogilvy to be inducted into the hall of fame.[17]

FCUK controversy[edit]

In 2000 David Abbott wrote an open letter to Campaign Magazine[18] in response to the publication awarding FCUK their advertiser of the year accolade. The letter to the publication read:

Fcuk me, what a brilliant choice for advertiser of the year. Fcuking great idea to put fcuking four-letter words on fcuking big posters, where every fcuking eight-year-old can see them. What a fcuking cool way to get up the noses of those fcuking parents and teacher tossers who are trying to bring their kids up as fcuking goody-goodies. That’s the way to sell a youth brand, though haven’t I seen it fcuking before on the lav walls? Anyhow, great to see the industry magazine behaving in such a fcuking great way - makes me fcuking nostalgic, it does.

In response to this letter, Trevor Beattie the man behind the campaign, hit back at Abbott during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity accusing him of boring the pants off the audience with a lengthy diatribe.[19]

Published works[edit]

Together with Alfredo Marcantonio and John O'Driscoll, David Abbott authored a book about the history of Volkswagen advertising entitled 'Remember those great Volkswagen ads?', which is comprehensive account of the most influential campaign in the history of advertising.[20] His first novel, The Upright Piano Player, was published in 2010 by MacLehose Press.[21] John Burnham Schwartz the author of Bicycle Days and Reservation Road called Abbott's debut novel 'a wise and moving debut, an accomplished novel of quiet depths and resonant shadows.'

Personal life[edit]

Abbott was married with four children[1] and eight grandchildren.

Death[edit]

David Abbott died at the age of 75 after undergoing heart surgery at London's Royal Brompton Hospital.[22]

References[edit]

External links[edit]