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  1. Just another herbert from Brum

    Just another herbert from Brum

    Last night, a group of LHMers (along with half of Birmingham’s advertising fraternity) were fortunate enough to spend a couple of hours in the company of an advertising legend, who just so happens to originate from Balsall Heath. Most reading this will be familiar with the work of Trevor Beattie, his London agency BMB, and of course his well-publicised scheduled space exploration aboard Virgin Galactic.

    Trevor is best known for his early work on iconic campaigns like ‘Hello Boys’ for Wonderbra, and devising FCUK for French Connection. But refreshingly, he used this talk as an opportunity to speak about the work that had made him most proud throughout his career, as well as his other passions in life. This took all who attended on a journey from his origins at Moseley Art School, to meeting Nelson Mandela as part of a moving Unicef campaign, to producing a BAFTA award-winning movie, through to his unashamed political allegiances, before returning to what is clearly his lifelong (soon to be realised) dream of making a voyage into space. It was quietly pleasing for me that he cited the Red Bull-sponsored Felix Baumgartner freefall as ‘the greatest ad ever written’; as this was a subject I chose to write about in a previous blog – great minds, eh Trevor?

    It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and so fantastic to hear from a man who, despite his undoubted success since relocating to London (via Wolverhampton) and his huge influence in the advertising industry over the years, still sees himself as a ‘Brummie herbert’ who maintains an avid and passionate interest in what’s going on in his home city (including series linking Midlands Today on Sky Plus!?).

    One of the biggest impressions I came away with was during the Q&A, when Trevor was asked to sum up in three words how to make a successful brand or campaign. ‘’Just be honest’’, was his understated but equally profound response – I believe there’s a lot to be said for that.

    So many brands go into marketing with the approach of duping the consumer into choosing their product or service. And interestingly, Trevor cited Twitter as a route for brands wanting to take the opposite approach. Social media has given every consumer in Britain and around the world a powerful voice, and brands who underestimate that could find themselves in awkward positions. Word of mouth now has the power to go viral, so trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes will almost certainly leave brands the subject of an unwanted hashtag.

    All-in-all it was an inspiring talk from an engaging and down-to-earth bloke. Let’s hope he literally does return ‘down-to-earth’ after his galactic excursion – by his own admission he expects to be a different person afterwards – but I’m sure he’ll always be a proper Brummie at heart.

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