An AMV BBDO advertising supplement: Abbott leaves FGA to join small shop

4 November, 1977

4 November, 1977

David Abbott this week stunned the advertising world by quitting as

creative director of French Gold Kenyon and Eckhardt to join a pounds

1.7 million agency - Mead Davies and Vickers.

Abbott will buy a 22.5 per cent stake in the renamed agency, Abbott Mead

Davies and Vickers, and take much of the responsibility for creative

work from its chairman, Peter Mayle.

Abbott has made a similar move before. In 1971, only 18 months after he

was promoted from creative director to managing director of Doyle Dane

Bernbach, he joined French and Gold in the then pounds 880,000 billing


Abbott’s first task will be to hire a top art director to work with


Until now, Mead Davies has relied heavily on its exiled chairman, former

BBDO creative director, Peter Mayle.

On March 11 this year Abbott placed a double-page ad in Campaign,

headlined: ’Reports of my departure have been greatly exaggerated.’

It included the sentence: ’When my contract is up at the end of the

year, I shall renew it.’

Abbott is adamant that when he placed the ad, ’I meant it at the


But his growing concern at becoming a figurehead at FGA and losing the

close involvement in the creation of ads has emerged as the major reason

for his departure. As he wrote in his ad in Campaign, ’I wanted to go on

writing ads’.

It is this desire for shop-floor involvement that goes some way to

explain what many industry people see as a puzzling aspect of Abbott’s

decision: why he chose to join a small and relatively unknown outfit. He

says: ’I still feel I’ve got a few seasons in me as a writer.’

Abbott first discussed a move to Mead Davies at the beginning of August

over lunch with Adrian Vickers, who he has known since university at


Abbott resigned from French Gold later that month, but described it as

’jumping off into the unknown’.

He did not meet the three partners together until mid-September.


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