Which A-Lister are you?

Consider yourself as funny as Paul Lawson, creative as Nils Leonard or savvy as James Murphy? Answer the next 10 questions to find out which influential A-Lister you most closely resemble.

1. What's the best lesson you've learnt this year?

  • That the people we truly love aren't with us forever
  • Don't try to do an ice-hockey stop on your weaker side
  • Four glasses is my limit
  • New disciplines need time to settle into an agency
  • Never, ever give up
  • There's plenty still to learn
  • To stick to my guns
  • Success breeds a mass fear of failure. So disguise success
  • To learn to trust my own instincts
  • How to stop melons dropping off (fnarr, fnarr)

2. What's the most satisfying thing you've done recently and why?

  • Watch my three-year-old drop in on a vert ramp. (See YouTube.)
  • Cracked long division with my son – because I never did
  • Launched an in-house production company. Because video is eating the world
  • Become CEO. It's an honour
  • Taking my long-suffering wife to see Kate Bush at Shepherds Bush so she could "appreciate" the difficult b-sides of two albums and the soundtrack to my teenage bedroom
  • Helped to raise a lot of money for the Lord's Taverners and also being on the executive committee of Rays of Sunshine
  • Handing over a precious organisation in pretty good shape into the hands of someone who will run it better
  • I went to the Matisse exhibition yesterday – time out to reflect and remind myself how lucky I am to work in such a creative business
  • We launched in Canada. From nothing, we are now a team of 60 in three cool new offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal – with a very exciting brief from a great new client. It has been completely new, different and exhilarating
  • Data in a Day at Decoded… realised I'm still a dweeb at heart

3. You're asked to do a TED talk. What would you choose to talk about and why?

  • How advocacy is becoming the new advertising. I think it's true, it's interesting(ish) and relatively transformative. (And I don't know enough about robotics to talk about that.)
  • Big Ted, Little Ted and Floella Benjamin – a threesome born in hell. It's time for the true story to come out
  • Sharing. Really? Why are humans compelled to share their most mundane existences?
  • What the non-fiction section of any good bookshop tells us about human evolution
  • I'd chicken out but trawl round for business leads in the audience. Cheap, but true
  • I'd ask Ken Robinson to do it for me – how could I beat him, and we all need a reminder of how creative children are
  • That life's about the album tracks, not the singles
  • The trade union waiting line of creativity in advertising and why it must die
  • About the importance of family, friends and looking after youself. Work is important but is not everything. Make time for other people and for yourself
  • The importance of serendipity

4. You've got £1 million to invest in something. Who/what gets your money?

  • Danny Rimer at Index Ventures – a great investor in the likes of Skype, Dropbox and Flipboard, and more likely than anyone to turn £1 million into £10 million
  • The schools of my children. Then I could stop being a wage slave
  • Me. My house. I.
  • They say that the two era defining trends for business are ageing and climate change. So raincoats for pensioners has got to be a winner
  • A house in Umbria for my holidays
  • A vast underground library in the village where I grew up archiving every copy of 2000AD magazine in a temperature-controlled humidifier
  • A pan-Asian publishing deal for Suck & Chew. A sweetshop run by a criminal on Colombia Road. And an 11 per cent stake in the US distribution deal for the excellent Timmy's pies
  • Property
  • Renewable energy
  • My children

5. What single thing would improve your life?

  • A helicopter
  • A single-figure handicap
  • A key, credit card and phone tracker
  • Discovering where the leak in my garage ceiling emanates from
  • Halving my commute
  • Re-opening the entrance to the Bakerloo line at Paddington
  • London being 222 miles closer to Cornwall
  • Sunshine and warmth
  • Renewable knees
  • More hours in the day

6. You've found a time-travel machine. Where do you go?

  • To Collett Dickenson Pearce at the very beginning. Essentially the birth of creative advertising in the most swashbuckling style – amazing
  • About half-an-hour back in time, in the office, to see if I can find where I mislaid that agency-branded pen I was using
  • Madison Avenue, early 60s
  • The Wild West. Boots. Hats. Good bars. What's not to like?
  • September 2015.See above
  • 1978 – Stranglers live in Battersea Park
  • The orgasm I had in Northern Spain
  • Back to when I was 22. I would do quite a few things differently (including investing in Facebook and Twitter).
  • To 2050, to see how the precious things I've nurtured turn out: plants, trees, TV industry, son
  • Sunday 15 August 1965, Shea Stadium – the most famous Beatles concert ever

7. It's 2020. What are you doing?

  • Counting out my lottery millions, hopefully. Or staring out of my window on the Thames, plotting and scheming, probably
  • Shaking my head at DG
  • Hopefully, the same thing
  • Filling out the 2020 A List questionnaire in exactly the same place. I think I have issues around personal ambition
  • Louching around the South of France in a kaftan, pickled in rosé
  • Launching a new publication called the C-List in order to reserve an annual entry for myself
  • Still enjoying the fear of a beautiful bubble bursting
  • Still enjoying life
  • Still trying to finish that bloody novel
  • I'm in a yacht in the Indian Ocean

8. Oops, the world ends tomorrow. What do you do today

  • I'd start with a couple of Marlboro Lights and a glass of Chardonnay
  • A day at the beach with my whole family  (Santa Monica)
  • Go for a very, very long lunch at the River Cafe
  • Rush home, get my girls, and go to the top of the Shard to watch
  • Use that time-travel machine I found to get the fuck away from the impending armaggedon
  • Louching around the South of France in a kaftan, pickled in rose
  • My wife
  • Forget the novel. Lots of hugging, kissing, crying and laughing, of course
  • Call our Sydney office and check how they're doing
  • Probably the same as everyone else

9. But if you could be anyone else in adland for a day, who would you be and why?

  • Marco Mori. A young talented photographer about to have the most incredible life
  • Don Draper. Series one. What do you mean it's not real?
  • Laurence Green. Super smart, properly nice and has excellent shirts
  • Dave Droga or Dave Trott. Because I'd love to be able to think like that, even just for a day
  • Either Moray, just to get a taste of what it's like to be so very old and past it, or Robert, to understand why it is that being ginger makes you so angry
  • Jon Burley. Then I would turn myself in for kiddy-fiddling
  • Paul Lawson's gag writer/Jonathan Burley's ghost writer/Rory Sutherland's cushion plumper
  • Nicola Mendelsohn. I honestly don't know how she runs her life with a huge job, four children and always on a plane, but she always seems so happy. I have a huge amount of respect for her
  • Joe Pattison at Aegis. Handsome, clever and kind, he has a whole lifetime ahead of him in this great industry
  • Tom Bazeley – he's smart, funny, creative, hugely relaxed

10. What will be your legacy (assuming the world doesn't actually end tomorrow)?

  • We have brought a lot of people more talented than me into a lasting partnership that may prove to be a better model than those that currently exist – with the profits in the businesses being genuinely shared among the partners who generate them
  • I hope that I will be remembered as a wonderful daughter and sister, and someone who is a loyal, loving friend and also great fun. And someone who will be remembered fondly in the media industry
  • Maybe Thinkbox and the Wacl Future Leaders Fund – but, in an ideal world, we wouldn't need either
  • Veni, vidi, vici (within the confines of our W14 office postcode)
  • You're never too old
  • Getting the agency ready for a fully integrated future without chucking the values out of the window
  • I hope that girls won't feel that there is a glass ceiling any more
  • That anything is possible in this business. I hope
  • A vast underground library in the village where I grew up archiving every copy of 2000AD magazine in a temperature-controlled humidifier
  • The talented young people I have had the honour to work with. And the things I have (with no structured intention) taught them. An agency the public are glad exists. The word spaff making its way into the English Dictionary
  • You are JOHNNY HORNBY! Congratulations on being so well-connected.

    Effortlessly charming and with impeccable breeding (dare we say a bit louche?), you're not afraid of hard graft but you quietly make everything look so damn easy. You should be proud of really making a mark on the industry but you're not ready to give up yet. That's not to say that you don't let your hair down from time to time and don't mind causing the occasional rumble. But your sophisticated nature means that the world will forgive you every time.

  • You are PAUL LAWSON!                        Well you've proved that partying hard and working hard aren't mutually exclusive.

    You wear your intelligence lightly, disguised beneath a wicked - and occasionally filthy - sense of humour that means that everyone who meets or works with you adores you (they would also do well to remember that they underestimate you at your peril). Funny and fearless, you're not afraid to stand up for what you believe in. But you're one of the good guys. And a little bit dangerous.

  • You are KATE STANNERS!                 You're confirmation of why it's still a great industry

    You're a grand dame of advertising on the cusp of becoming an industry treasure. You're one of the reasons why craft skills will always be treasured by the industry more than data. You're bohemian and you don't particularly care what other people think about you. You've got your own style.

  • You are Ian Pearman!                         You're big both in stature and personality.

    Your calm nature and your loyalty are qualities that define you and you give the impression of being a consensus leader, although you're really getting everything done your own way – the right way. You surround yourself with remarkable talent but there's no doubt that you're really in charge. You'll be in the A List for ever. You respect and honour the past while continuing to push forward.

  • You are JAMES MURPHY!                  You're at the very top of your game and you've worked damn hard to get there.

    But the big question is how do you find enough time in the day? You're definitely not one to sit back and enjoy your already considerable achievements (or wealth), preferring to chase every opportunity that comes your way. Your sense of wonderment and boundless enthusiasm for the industry is endearing and the sky's the limit (maybe in your youth you pointed at planes?). You show us how to win, and win well.

  • You are LISA THOMAS!                      You're determined and as sharp as a tack.

    You've always been an entrepreneur and this informs your view of the world. Your grit (and some might say occasional stubbornness) drives you on as you continually seek newer and better ways of doing things. But you have a warmer, softer and kinder side and don't mind enjoying some of the finer things in life, such as expensive shoes. And why not? You deserve them.

  • You are CLAUDINE COLLINS!            You're an inspiration and you care

    You love the industry almost as much as you love life. You like to party, particularly if there are celebrities around, and your enthusiasm for life is infectious. While you've made countless friends in the industry there's a clear line between your professional and social dealings – within your velvet glove lies an iron fist. But mostly you care about those around you and about doing good. Don't ever change.

  • You are NILS LEONARD!                    You're going to be famous

    Of course you're already famous in the ad world, but bigger things are probably beckoning. But you know this – you're a person in a hurry. You've got bundles of self-confidence so it's fortunate that you have enough talent to match (but just occasionally you might need reigning in a bit). You've got the swagger of a rock star and you're not afraid to mix things up a bit – but deep down you've still got a big heart, no matter what some US feminists might think.

  • You are ANNETTE KING!                        You never give up

    With your boundless energy and unquenchable thirst (for progress) nothing gets in your way. While you sometimes take the occasional knock that everyone endures to heart, this just pushes you on further. Never, ever give up. But despite having reached such lofty career heights, you still know how to enjoy yourself, devil may care.

  • You are TESS ALPS!           Congratulations on being an oracle

    Your loved and honoured and you'll always be a part of this industry. You didn't get to where you are by just being nice however – you have a remarkable ability to always be right about things. In some people this would be annoying, but in you it's just awe-inspiring. You're remarkably civilised and cultured but you've also got a delightfully disarming turn of fruity phrase.

To view the A List click here.


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