To succeed in advertising requires great ideas, attention to detail and, sometimes, a fair amount of patience, says creative guru Trevor Beattie.
He’s a legend in his own right. And, while you may not recognise his face, you’ll know his work. Trevor Beattie oversaw the traffic-stopping ‘Hello Boys’ campaign for Wonderbra and rebranded French Connection as FCUK among other notable hits. Having prospered in one of the world’s most cutthroat industries for more than two decades, he also knows what it takes to make it to the top and stay there.
“You never stop learning” It’s so true. I’ve made countless new business pitches, but no two are the same. You can come out of there thinking you’ve blown it and the next thing you know, they’ll phone you on the way back to the office to tell you you’ve got the job. Or you can think it went perfectly and never hear from them again – we’re still waiting to hear back on one pitch from eight years ago.
“Complete focus makes all the difference” When we have a pitch coming up, we have what are called ‘Super Sundays’, which are when the staff come in to get the work done without distractions. People love it and you wouldn’t believe what you can get done in a day without emails, phone calls or meetings.
“Check the details” My biggest embarrassment came at a previous agency, when we pitched for the Laura Ashley account. We came up with the campaign’s end line, which was to be ‘Quintessentially English’, only to find out halfway through the pitch that they were Welsh. I had to battle through my presentation knowing exactly what was coming at the end of it.
“Wild optimism helps” Business is full of ups and downs, but you have to genuinely believe that you’re going to win every pitch, otherwise you’ve lost before you start. Even when it’s all going wrong and the pace is relentless, what carries us through is this optimism.
“Your ideas should transcend your business” I get inspiration from everywhere except advertising itself. Lots of people in the business go back to old ads as their creative source, but if it’s already been done it’s irrelevant to where we are now. Don’t study what’s been done before, think differently.
“Companies need legends” While I hate the word ‘bonding’, I think that work trips are part of what create legends – both in the sense of stories and the individuals concerned. We were formed on 05/05/05 and we have a party every year. We’ve been to Berlin, Las Vegas … Costs me a fortune, but it’s worth every penny.
“Say farewell, not goodbye” When someone leaves the company, I have a ritual. They make a speech and then I give them 60 seconds to run around to choose a piece of the office to take with them. It could be a chair, a clock, anything. One girl got my wallet and bought herself a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes online. Why do I do this? I believe they’ll come back one day and when they do, they’ll bring their item with them.
“Respect is everything” To me, the single most important word is respect – and sometimes it’s lacking. It’s like on The Apprentice, when you see so-called entrepreneurs haggling with a fishmonger and offering three quid for a fish that’s worth 10. They might get the fish that one time, but if you screw over your suppliers like that in business, they will remember you.
“Listen to your team” We have people who work with us on short term creative placements. Every now and again, they’ll really impress and the staff will lobby me to get them to stay. When there’s enough lobbying, I tend to take notice. I sit them down and tell them that everyone wants them to stick around, so they now they have to deliver…
“Hold your nerve” If you’ve got to present to a client next week, the temptation is to go with an early idea because it’s ‘something’ rather than the right thing. Hold your nerve. The right idea will come and when it does, you can strike.
This interview was carried out by SIM7’s Simeon de la Torre and first appeared in easyJet Traveller magazine. To read the latest issue (and the entire back catalogue of magazines), visit: https://ink-global.com/our-clients/portfolio/easyjet-traveller/