1 David Abbott’s award-winning ’Father’s Day’ ad for Chivas Regal
in 1980 was a version of an ad originally written for Terry’s
Chocolates, who turned it down.
2 Abbott Mead offers its staff sabbaticals: one month after ten years,
three after 15. When they were introduced in 1993, 30 staff were
3 The fly-fisherman, J. R. Hartley, was originally a collector of rare
butterflies, but AMV and Yellow Pages decided that that was too
J. R. Hartley was also the first advertising character to be turned into
a book (followed by the Gold Blend couple).
4 During the recession, the subsidised AMV bar put up the price of a
pint. Peter Mead rescinded the move in a memo saying one of the nice
things about being chairman was being able unilaterally to overturn that
sort of decision.
5 Still in the recession, AMV was notable for not laying off any
6 Apparently, one of David Abbott’s favourite hang-outs is the Cafe
Halepi, a pounds 5-a-head Greek restaurant and kebab house in Leinster
7All staff memos are an art form, but few have bettered David Abbott’s
marking of the agency’s rise to number one UK agency in 1996 in
Campaign’s annual Top 300 ranking. His memo was headed ’A Not Unpleasant
8 AMV is suspicious of Campaign. Its annual report for 1988 described
the magazine as ’that most sceptical of trade journals’.
9 The agency refuses to handle tobacco, toys or alcopop accounts. David
Abbott has worked for the SDP Liberal Democrat Alliance (remember them?)
but in a personal capacity.
10 The agency sponsored planner Kara Miller’s debut at the Edinburgh
Festival this year.
She wrote and starred in the play, Undine, which is now being produced
by BBC Radio 4.
11 The agency provides a free breakfast every morning and subsidised
drinks in the evening.
12 AMV makes about 200 TV commercials a year and another 100 adaptations
for the UK. In addition, it does about another 100 adaptations for
international commercials. It also produces around 1,100 print ads a
13 Terry Waite made a guest appearance in a one-off BT commercial to
commemorate VE Day.
14 Staff and their families get BUPA membership. There is also a
Christmas party for children of staff held in the agency each year. One
of the partners or top executives dresses up as Santa.
15 In 1987, AMV attempted to get into the Guinness Book of Records by
cramming the most words into an ad - 20,000 in a SunAlliance
16 An early Volvo ad featured a hitch-hiker - Kevin Maxwell.
17 The agency shuts down on Friday afternoons before Bank Holidays and
for an extended period over Christmas.
18 Adrian Vickers claims he only got into advertising because his Oxford
careers advisor told him he wasn’t suited to accountancy. The next entry
in the graduate careers directory was advertising.