BDG founder Michael Garland passes away

Michael Garland, whose 30-year advertising career included helping to found the Butler Dennis Garland agency, has died aged 83.

Michael Garland
Michael Garland

His death, at a Sue Ryder hospice near his Oxfordshire home, came after a long battle with cancer.

Butler Dennis Garland, a top 20 agency during its 80s heyday, later went through several incarnations before evolving into what is now Delaney Lund Knox Warren.

Garland began his career as an account executive at the former Crawfords agency in the late 50s.

His time there coincided with the arrival of commercial TV in Britain and he took responsibility for the agency’s TV output, including some of the earliest live commercials.

He eventually quit the agency, having grown disenchanted with the asset-stripping activities of John Bentley, who owned Crawfords and Dorlands.

In partnership with John Dennis, another Crawfords director, he set up Dennis & Garland in the early 70s with a client list that included National Savings, Braun and Westclox. The agency became BDG after its subsequent merger with Butler & Gardner.

BDG proved a particularly fertile breeding ground for media directors. One was Nick Horswell, who went on to help found PHD, another was Dominic Proctor, now Mindshare's global chief executive.

Garland retired in 1989, just after BDG's sale to Kenyon & Eckhardt.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and three sons – Charles, John and Richard – all of whom have made careers in marketing communication.

Charles, a former group development director at Bartle Bogle Hegarty and chief operating officer of Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment, is a founder of Crystal Entertainment.

John is a former chief operating officer at JWT New York and Richard was a cameraman for films and commercials.

The funeral takes place next Tuesday at 12 noon at Remenham Church near Henley-on-Thames. Family flowers only. Donations to Sue Ryder Care. Inquiries to Charles Garland (

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