CAMPAIGN CRAFT: BMP double act who aren’t in it for the applause - Harriet Green investigates the quirky talent of BMP’s Ted Heath and Paul Angus

You’d never guess. These two are prizewinners? Feisty go-getters?

You’d never guess. These two are prizewinners? Feisty

go-getters?



No, ’laid back’ doesn’t begin to describe them. This BMP DDB creative

team seems to have constructed an entire career strategy on one word:

nonchalance.



But the truth is that, over six years in the business, Ted Heath and

Paul Angus have devised a clutch of high-profile ads. Then, last month,

they scored a triumph at Campaign’s Poster Awards (Campaign, 16

October).



Their ’swear box’ ad for Volkswagen, which landed the prize for best

individual poster, is a textbook example of great outdoor

advertising.



It marries a powerful message with a simple execution. The ad, using the

line ’surprisingly ordinary prices’, features a red, 3-D box, labelled

’swear box’, mounted on a white poster. Above it, there is nothing but

the following words: ’Polo L, only #8,150.’



The pair appear genuinely surprised by the success. It didn’t take long

to dream up the ad, they explain, almost apologetically.



Heath, 32, the solid, public face of the team, who recently hacked off

his shoulder-length tresses and has just become a first-time father,

sums up their mixed emotions. ’Sometimes it seems a bit too easy. Is

that it?’ he laughs. Of course, they’re well aware of the debt they owe

to fellow BMP creatives, the ones who laid down the foundations of the

now legendary VW ’affordability’ campaign.



But the pair’s unfussed approach delivers impressive results. A quick

glance around their cramp-ed and cluttered office, with its view over

the gritty Paddington basin, reveals a healthy batch of awards,

including the recent Campaign gongs and (if you look very closely) a

Cannes Lion. Ask them what the Lion’s for, however, and they look

completely blank. They think it might have been for Guinness, but then

again ... So vague are they on the subject that they have to rifle

through their files to dig up the certificate.



(It was for Nik-Naks.)



Heath and Angus met on an advertising course at Buckinghamshire College.

Both had originally trained as graphic designers and neither of them

chose advertising as a career, they just fell into it. Heath plays the

role of copywriter in the partnership, they explain, simply because

Angus is better at drawing - though, in truth, they take a collaborative

approach. ’We’re not a volatile team,’ Angus explains.



They first made their mark as students, winning a D&AD student pencil (a

’stubby’ version of the grown-up award). A year of placements

followed.



Then they got lucky and landed a spell at Ogilvy & Mather, working

closely with Clive Yaxley and Jerry Gallagher, who became their mentors.

’There was O&M’s way, then there was the way of Clive and Jerry’s group.

Basically, when a brief came in, everyone worked on it. They were really

fair about it and when you did something better, then they’d say, ’OK,

this is the one that’s going.’ When we started, virtually our first ad

was TV,’ Angus says.



Gallagher, now at Bates Dorland, remembers them as a hard-working,

no-nonsense duo with a quirky edge: ’I think they get on as a team

because Ted’s the only person in the whole world who understands what

Paul is saying,’ he quips. He adds: ’They are very talented lads and are

quite quirky. Early on they proved they could handle the big stuff. I

think that now they have one award under their belt at BMP, they will go

on to win lots more.’



The pair took no time at all to make waves at O&M. First, with a TV

commercial for Pony trainers featuring a super-tough American

footballer, then with a surreal campaign for Nik-Naks which used Monty

Pythonesque animation to portray the snack’s powerful taste and ugly

appearance.



After that, there was a wacky campaign for Golden Wonder crisps,

including one execution featuring a determined marathon walker who takes

himself too seriously and stuffs Golden Wonder crisps down his shorts as

a performance-enhancing measure. It was this ’walker’ execution that

made the industry sit up and take notice. As Gallagher observes, drily:

’It’s an odd way to flog a packet of crisps.’ The film won a D&AD silver

and a Kinsale bronze.



Before they left O&M, the pair came up with one more very memorable ad:

a bus-shelter poster for Guinness to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. The

innovative execution, which was a finalist at Cannes, made use of

SuperLite technology to fill a glass with Guinness. The original line

’unhappy St Patrick’s Day’ appeared with the empty Guinness glass, but

this changed later in the day to a full glass with the ’un’ crossed out,

so that it read ’happy St Patrick’s Day’.



Heath and Angus switched to BMP in 1997. Initially, work was slow to

take off and colleagues say the pair became a little worried about their

progress. But a year on, the future looks sunny. They’ve got the award

and they’re working on more VW campaigns.



They’ve also created an hilarious ten-second commercial for

Autoglass.



Tony Cox, BMP’s executive creative director, believes their work has

matured since they arrived at the agency. ’It’s a bit more to the point,

a bit more disciplined. They are nice and wacky and always approach

things in elliptical and surprising ways. They have done two or three

things really well on unpromising briefs, such as Autoglass.’



At the end of the interview, Angus and Heath shuffle off to go and do

whatever it is they do when they’re not talking to journalists. When

talking about their work, their insouciance could easily have become

frustrating - but the overall effect was actually strangely refreshing.

They may be stars in the making, but they have yet to become starry.



As Gallagher says: ’They are not good at playing the game. That’s what’s

good about them, they have their feet on the ground. If their work is

blown out they don’t go off in a huff. They’ll say ’sod it, we’ll do

another one’. I expect they’ll take their poster award in the same way.’



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