AMV still going strong after 40 years at the top

To London’s Embankment to celebrate 40 years of AMV BBDO, once (David) Abbott (Peter) Mead (Adrian) Vickers), the most successful of the tidal wave of creative agencies who hit London in the late 1970s and through the 80s and 90s.

AMV is still the biggest London agency by billings (not the most accurate measure perhaps but it testifies to its roster of big, mostly loyal clients) and a key part of the BBDO network, which has been a mostly productive association.

Abbott, the creative icon who defined its style and got the place moving with Volvo among others, is no longer with us but Mead is still there while Vickers, often unremarked but a key part of the fabric, has retired. There were numerous other leaders too, notably Michael Baulk, the ultimate suit, who joined from Ogilvy.

There aren’t many agencies of whom you can say they left the world a better place but AMV is one such, as is evident from this 40th reel with, as well as legendary work for Dunlop with Tony Kaye and Guinness with Jonathan Glazer (the best commercial ever? A contender) has a distinguished public service record, latterly its anti-knife crime work for London (all below).

As AMV boss Cilla Snowball says, the agency looks forward not back. And it remains a formidable force. But the still beating heart of the place is Abbott and he was best known for his press copywriting – school of DDB New York where he once worked.

Here’s ‘Father’s Day’ for Chivas Regal.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.