DIARY: One-off Knox had the last laugh on the ASB

Oliver Knox, the advertising man who died recently at the age of 78, had a truly amazing life. One of a small group of Old Etonians responsible for making the post-war advertising industry attractive to some of the country's best and brightest graduates, he was later recruited to articulate the intellectual case for Thatcherism.

Toward the end of his days at Robert Sharp Ltd, where he was the creative director, he got into a little bit of trouble with the Advertising Standards Board for some publicity in The Sunday Telegraph. He was reported to have said, entirely accurately in Campaign's view, that all the best ideas came after long, bibulous expense account lunches at the fashionable Mirabelle restaurant in Mayfair. Hauled before the ASB for this statement of fact, he was found guilty of bringing the ad industry into disrepute.

But Knox had the last laugh. Having made a small fortune, he retired soon afterward and was able to splash out on two country homes, one in County Cork, the other in Urbino, Italy, where he wrote novels and travel books.


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