Dave Trott's 30-year-old memo sparks adland debate about mediocrity

A 30-year-old memo written by Dave Trott beseeching his then creative department at GGT to eschew convention and "do something different" has resurfaced on social media.

Dave Trott's tweet of a memo he wrote 30 years' ago
Dave Trott's tweet of a memo he wrote 30 years' ago

On 3 February Trott posted an image, crediting Roger Stanier for posting the "memo from GGT 30 years ago" on Facebook.

In the missive, Trott bemoans the state of advertising that, rather than trying to be "totally different", instead tries to "do the same thing, but better".

His words, which in spite of their age appear to be as pertinent today as they were then, have clearly struck a chord with the ad industry. At the time of writing, the post has been liked 312 times and retweeted 108 times.

Industry luminary Cindy Gallop retweeted Trott’s post, agreeing emphatically with the sentiment expressed in the memo. "I was lucky enough to be working at GGT 30 years ago when @davetrott wrote this memo," she wrote. "’Totally different and 'unconventional' is right."

Trott said that the memo had been kept by a former staffer at GGT, Andy Archer, who now teaches at art school and who had shown it to his colleague Roger Stanier.

Although he does not remember writing that particular memo, Trott recalls how the notion of breaking the mould was constantly drilled into the creative department, which was "filled with books, films, plays and art, all that things you’d want to look at to keep you fresh and original".

GGT was later assimilate into TBWA, which became TBWA/GGT.