DIARY: BBDO old guard drink from the fountain of youth - at the Groucho

What a droll place the BBDO creative department must have been in the 70s when Peter Mayle was still in command and hadn’t yet succeeded in turning Provence into a magnet for every Thomas, Richard and Harriet.

What a droll place the BBDO creative department must have been in

the 70s when Peter Mayle was still in command and hadn’t yet succeeded

in turning Provence into a magnet for every Thomas, Richard and

Harriet.



There was John O’Driscoll, who liked to immerse himself in his work by

appearing in front of the Playtex account team clad in bra and

girdle.



Not to be outdone, John Horton and Richard Foster liked to frighten

visitors by installing a fully dressed tailor’s dummy - complete with a

noose around its neck - in the lift.



And what of a young copywriter who did some mould-breaking work for

Harrods?



Now what was his name? Oh yes, Tim Delaney. Very bright. Whatever became

of him?



Need you ask. ’I was working, as ever,’ sighs the Leagas Delaney group

chairman (Most famous phrase: ’If you can’t be bothered to come in on

Saturday, don’t bother coming in on Sunday’) by way of explaining his

absence from the departmental reunion at the Groucho Club last

Friday.



One person who did make it was the director Paul Weiland, who welcomes

the infrequent get-togethers for keeping him in touch with his lost

youth. ’I only go because it’s the only party I can turn up to where I’m

the youngest person in the room.’ He’s 46.



’I think everybody wanted to get together before we all die.’



Ex-BBDO types from as far away as Australia turned up for the bash while

Mayle made it across the channel from his home in France, prompting

wistful recollections of a department which seemed to save its best

creative work for its expense accounts.



’We had so much fun that it wasn’t like work at all,’ Weiland, then a

humble copywriter, recalls. ’Peter used to take us to lunch all the

time. But he had charisma - and he still has it - by the

bucketload.’



Delaney has similar fond memories of a man he calls ’a natural

anarchist’, adding: ’He once asked me to fire a friend who wasn’t even

in my group. It was hard - but I did it.’



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