PERSPECTIVE: Beattie surprises again as he quits in spite of merger deal

’The deal looks a very promising one, assuming various senior creative egos can be massaged.’ Me, on the Simons Palmer’s TBWA deal last week.

’The deal looks a very promising one, assuming various senior

creative egos can be massaged.’ Me, on the Simons Palmer’s TBWA deal

last week.

Spooky, eh? Actually, I don’t think Trevor Beattie’s resignation on

Monday had anything to do with this particular merger. Despite

scepticism about having five creative directors, most people assumed it

would last beyond Monday.

After Beattie had welcomed the merger in Campaign last week, everyone

sat back to relish the prospect of weeks of gossip and innuendo about

how it wasn’t working out. Trevor, true to form, has now spoiled their

sport. His frustration with TBWA before the merger was well known, and

it appears that all Paul Simons’ blandishments failed to make up for it.

Did he look daft by telling us, ’It will mean a bigger stage to deal

with ... I rate the Simons Palmer creative department very highly’, and

then resigning four days later?

Possibly - but then it’s always easy to comment on other people’s


Beattie, despite his over-exposure in the media (there happened to be a

fawning interview with him in the Guardian the morning he resigned), is

one of the more interesting characters in adland. It’s not just that

he’s a chirpy Brummie in a sea of miserable northern-git creatives, or

his Michael Jackson hairdo, that sets him apart. Beattie obviously loves

advertising. He’s proud to work in the business and proud of the product

he creates. He says he’s never wanted to do anything else. How many

people in adland do you know who you can genuinely say that of?

He’s also got a grip on the plot. He actually consumes the media his ads

run in - particularly television. Again, how many advertising people

really watch much commercial TV? Keep it simple is his mantra, and

understand the medium you work in. It’s worked to best effect on

posters, where, through Wonderbra and others, he’s done more to bring

that medium to the fore in recent years than anyone bar Luciano

Benetton. He will know that when he sticks to his own rules - ’toys

aren’t us’, the Nissan Micra launch - he’s brilliant, but when he

doesn’t, you end up with the bewildering Mr and Mrs Jones Nissan Primera


Beattie also understands how to play the media in the pursuit of gaining

more publicity for both his clients and his agency. Ironically, it’s a

skill he shares with Paul Simons. Both are criticised for it. Why, for

God’s sake? Advertising people surely have to respond to the changed

media context within which they work.

It’s a shame they won’t be working together, and it now looks like a

very Simons Palmer-dominated agency, which is no bad thing. Paul Simons

will be sad; Trevor was the main asset other than TBWA’s clients. And,

Trevor? Whatever he does, it won’t be dull.