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
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.