Trevor ‘no, it’s not a perm’ Beattie, the adman whose personal PR
machine is one of the more well-oiled, state-of-the-art variety, pulled
off his most impressive performance to date last week.
Invited to appear as ‘an advertising executive’ on Andrew Neil’s global
BBC 2 talk show, he leapt at the opportunity. Crucially, however, he did
not check what the show wanted him for.
Neil was staging a debate around the new ‘kill your speed’ ad for the
Department of Transport and had pitted Beattie against Mike Rutherford,
the somewhat thuggish motoring correspondent of the News of the World.
‘But that campaign is by Abbott Mead Vickers, not TBWA,’ we hear you
cry. Indeed. We know that. Our Trev knew that. But Neil did not.
‘Trevor, we’ve had a lot of calls saying this ad is not hard-hitting
enough,’ posed the host.
‘It’s tempting to think that these campaigns suit the advertising
industry,’ Neil later challenged. ‘They are fun to make, you win awards
for them, and the Government is allowed to spend pounds 3 million of the
tax payers’ money on advertising to get this across,’ he added.
But Trev took it all on his shapely chin. He ducked, he dived, he
parried, he mounted a stoic defence of Abbott Mead’s work - and all
without so much as a mention of its name on primetime TV.
‘I liked the ad,’ he told the Diary. ‘It seemed petty to say I hadn’t
A case of mistaken identity? Understandable, really. After all, Trevor
does bear a striking resemblance to David Abbott.