My campaign: Above the reggae shop, 1987
A view from Rupert Howell

My campaign: Above the reggae shop, 1987

How HHCL, Campaign's Agency of the Decade for the 1990s, rose like the "fragrant smoke that used to drift up through the floorboards"

1 October 1987 was the pivotal day in my advertising career and one of the most important in my life. I had got married a month earlier to Claire (we’re still together, 31 years later); Young & Rubicam had let me keep my Ferrari to go on honeymoon in St Tropez; and I had now returned the car to Derek in the Y&R car park. (And got on the No.94 bus for the next 10 years.)

1/10/87 was also the day we launched HHCL – Campaign’s Agency of the Decade for the 1990s. Our first office was at the Oxford Street end of Dean Street, above a reggae records shop called Daddy Kool.

The first day there, I looked at my four partners – Steve Henry, Axel Chaldecott, Adam Lury and Robin Price – and realised that I had put my future career and life in their hands. And I was as happy and confident as I had ever been. I knew they were the best of our generation in each of their disciplines; and I sensed we would complement each other well.

The day we moved in, we made friends with the guys at Daddy Kool, who agreed to turn down the music if we had a pitch and go easy on the strangely fragrant smoke that used to drift up through the floorboards.

Our first visitor was Jim Kelly, then managing director of Gold Greenlees Trott, with a congratulatory bottle of Champagne.

And calls came in from all the people who had helped me so much: Nigel Bogle, Mike Greenlees, John Ayling, Allan Rich, John Banks and Ron Miller.

What a fantastic industry this is. All the above became good friends, despite us often competing against each other.

I’ve enjoyed almost every minute of my career and feel very lucky to have worked with so many talented people.

HHCL was incredibly special; and that’s the day it started.

Rupert Howell is the group development director of Trinity Mirror and a co-founder of Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury