Chris Joseph (autobiographer)

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Chris Joseph
Christopher John Joseph

19th February 1958
United Kingdom
Alma materEnglish Martyrs School and Sixth Form College,
University of Liverpool
OccupationAdvertising Executive
Notable work
Bye-Bye Bipolar?: 63 Manicdotes
MovementSAFE (Struggle Against Financial Exploitation)

Chris Joseph is a British advertising executive and sufferer of bipolar disorder and the author of his autobiography Bye-Bye Bipolar?: 63 Manicdotes. He has a divorced wife Helen and three children,[1] and is also a supporter of Middlesbrough Football Club. He was chairman of the Middlesbrough Official Supporters Club from 2014-2015[citation needed]and is the founder and President of the Middlesbrough Supporters Forum -

Early life and education[edit]

Joseph attended the English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, Hartlepool. He left his BA Hons French degree at the University of Liverpool to become a priest, worked as a nightclub doorman, and at an iron foundry Head Wrightson[2] where he survived an industrial accident but lost his right arm, and then completed a changed degree at the University of Liverpool in French and communication studies before beginning a career in advertising.[1][page needed][3][page needed]

Advertising career[edit]

After joining the small advertising agency GDA, rapid promotion to new business director and subsequently being headhunted by Saatchi & Saatchi,[1] he set up his own agency, Hook Advertising, which he turned into an award-winning[which?] company with a £10 million a year turnover. The name comes from the solid silver hallmarked hook which replaced the hand he lost in his industrial accident.[4]

Although clients of Hook Advertising included Fujitsu and Schwarzkopf, its biggest client was the Barclays Philips Shell consortium (BYPS). Joseph created and designed the name and logo for Rabbit, a telephone system and then pitched and won the £4 million advertising contract from BYPS. When Rabbit was later sold to Hutchison, the latter requested an assignment of the Rabbit copyright from Hook Advertising which refused, believing it not to be covered by the contract. After Hutchison severed the contract it sued Hook Advertising.[5] Four years of litigation followed where Hook Advertising also sued Barclays, Shell, Philips and Hutchison, and in addition Barclays sued Hook Advertising.[1]

In January 1996, Mrs Justice Arden ruled that clients cannot take creative work pitched to them speculatively without a prior agreement, but that in Hook Advertising's enthusiasm to win the Rabbit deal it had effectively traded its rights to the logo and made such a preliminary deal.[4] This ruling replaced the legal precedent set in 1928 in the Hycolite case (Drabble (Harold) Ltd v. Hycolite Manufacturing Co. [1928] 44 TLR 264) that the conduct of the parties may imply a licence to use a copyright work without the need for it to be in writing.[4][8] Despite the legal battle, there was also an out of court settlement in which Hook Advertising received more than £1 million.[citation needed]


Joseph suffers from bipolar disorder, a psychiatric illness with cyclical manic and depressive episodes. He was sectioned several times between 1988 and 2002 although he has now been well and not relapsed for 12 years.[9] During some of his manic periods he squandered money, including buying 200 FA football tickets worth over £5,000 for a match involving his favourite team Middlesbrough F.C. He then gave them all away to children he didn't know outside McDonald's.[2] He became chairman of the national Manic Depressive Fellowship charity (now Bipolar UK) during the period Spike Milligan was patron.[citation needed]

SAFE (Struggle Against Financial Exploitation)[edit]

While fighting the litigation Joseph founded the group SAFE (Struggle Against Financial Exploitation). Its purpose was as a high-profile action group to demonstrate and draw attention to systemic fraud and deception upon unsuspecting individuals throughout the UK. SAFE caused severe embarrassment, with its demonstrations and creative but legal advertising campaigns and publicity stunts against Barclays Bank, the Bank of England, the Treasury and Downing Street At its peak it had a membership of 2000 - second only to Greenpeace in terms of membership and profile.

One tactic was to buy shares in the banks, distribute them to aggrieved customers and then all attend shareholder's AGMs to ask awkward questions. SAFE ran mobile billboards around major UK cities with the message - "Are you being persecuted by a high street bank? We help people fight banks. Join SAFE and we'll give you a free share in your bank - you can attend its AGM with us and question the Chairman in person."


  • Manicdotes: There's Madness in His Method, 2008, ISBN 978-1905609079
  • Bye-Bye Bipolar?: 63 Manicdotes - a naughty-biography of a madman, 2016, ASIN B01CO13SII


  1. ^ a b c d Joseph, Chris (2008). Bye-Bye Bipolar? - 63 Manicdotes. London: Austin Macauley. ASIN B01CO13SII.
  2. ^ a b Manicdotes.fmttm, Robert Nichols, 8 October 2008
  3. ^ Chris Joseph (2008). Manicdotes: There's Madness in His Method. Austin & Macauley Publishers. ISBN 978-1905609079.
  4. ^ a b c The history of advertising 17 - Chris Joseph's silver, 3 June 2011
  5. ^ NEWS: Hook defends right to own Rabbit logo in High Court,John Tylee, 8 December 1995
  6. ^ Hart,T., Fazzani, L., Clark, S., 2009. Intellectual Property Law (5th Ed.). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  7. ^ Clark, R., Smyth, S., Hall, N., 2010. Intellectual Property Law in Ireland. Haywards Heath: Bloomsbury Professional.
  9. ^ "Bipolar battler". 17 July 2012.

External links[edit]