CLOSE-UP: WHERE ARE THEY NOW? - GEOFF SEYMOUR. John Tylee discovers what happened to the man who broke the £100,000 barrier

Funny how certain expressions stay part of the national lexicon well after their origins have been largely forgotten. "Ruby" remains rhyming slang for a curry even though it's more than 40 years since the late Ruby Murray had her last Top Ten hit.

And then there's the "Seymour", adland's long-established term for a £100,000 salary. But if you can name Geoff Seymour as the man who inspired it, chances are you're on the wrong side of 50.

Late morning in the bar of Chelsea Arts Club is the best time and place to catch Seymour these days. He sits alone with the stub of a cigar in one hand and an almost empty glass of wine in the other.

Ask him how he feels about being the first creative to break the £100,000 barrier when hired by Saatchi & Saatchi in 1982 and he dismisses it as of little consequence. He hated the place and still feels aggrieved at being sucked unwillingly into the Saatchis publicity machine which used him to let the world know it was sparing no expense on servicing its newly acquired British Airways account.

The passing years haven't been kind to Seymour, now 56. The movie-star looks of Campaign's 1980 photograph of him have gone, the victim of chemotherapy needed to fight the cancer that almost killed him, and so has most of his money. He's about to go through his second divorce.

An ad business which once showered its riches upon him has mostly ceased to care - although Seymour acknowledges that his own acid tongue is partly to blame. The trappings of wealth, including the Wiltshire farmhouse, the large house in Woolwich and the Bentley have gone, replaced by a bedsit off the King's Road.

Sir Frank Lowe cares. The Lowe Group chairman has drafted in Seymour to produce some international TV scripts for Stella Artois. It's the first project he's done in the two years since his illness forced him to stop his directing work and he's relishing the prospect.

Not least because Lowe remains a god-like figure to him. They were together at Collett Dickenson Pearce when the agency redefined British creativity in the 60s and 70s and at the fledgling Lowe Howard-Spink where, he claims, he was mistrusted because of his closeness to the boss. "Frank is the best. He's in a different league to any other adman in this country."

As for his perpetual association with a large unit of advertising currency, Seymour is philosophical. "It doesn't worry me," he says, remembering the extra £40,000 a year he got to join Saatchis from Lowe at a time when many fellow copywriters were averaging £15,000.

"Saatchis was never really a place I wanted to be involved in," he recalls. "I never thought it was particularly good creatively."

Today, the writer responsible for CDP's famous commercial for Hovis featuring a boy in a northern mill town still works as in a bygone era. He's never used a computer keyboard, preferring instead to handwrite his scripts with a pencil.

He sees few commercials, blaming "my rather inefficient TV set". And he's unimpressed with most of the spots he watches.

Does he still keep in touch with people in the industry? Yes. Can he say who they are? There's a silence. "Well, actually it's just Frank. Only Frank."

- Anybody you'd like Campaign to track down? E-mail us at