An AMV BBDO advertising supplement: Campaign Diary - Would you believe it? Face the facts about AMV’s unshady past ..

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.

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

immediately eligible.

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 Peter Mead rescinded the move in a memo saying one of the nice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

Terrace, W2.

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.


Become a member of Campaign

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a member

What is Campaign AI?

Our new premium service offering bespoke monitoring reports for your company.

Find out more

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content