Giles Keeble: my (personal) blasts from the past – John Webster’s wonders for BMP

I am trying to remember when I first got excited by an ad rather than advertising. I went to JWT straight from university and I was simply excited by the atmosphere especially when, to a large extent, it was created by Jeremy Bullmore and Stephen King. I know there were some famous campaigns- Oxo’s Katie, the Andrex puppy, After Eight? – but it was a big place and good work seemed to depend on the group you were in.

That changed when I was offered jobs at CDP and BMP and chose the latter. CDP were doing great work, but an ad that represents the sea-change for me would be Dave Trott’s ‘Lipsmackinthirstquenchin.…’ for Pepsi, or John Webster’s Cresta Bear, or the dance routine for John Smiths, although it was not the first of that series (below.). (The Smash Martians have been chosen too many times.)

Picasso once said that great artists steal. John took things and stored them for further use: the Jack Nicholson scene in Easy Rider for Cresta Bear, and Laurel and Hardy for John Smiths – also I believe the Arkwright character was inspired by Andy Capp. Perhaps these look a bit dated, and there have been many great ads since the mid-70s. But the stuff BMP was doing then was the start of something different, for me at least.

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About Giles Keeble

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Giles Keeble started as a rep (account man) at JWT before moving to BMP. There Stanley Pollitt told him that JWT’s Stephen King had wanted him to become a planner. John Webster encouraged him to become a writer but after a number of years Giles moved to French Gold Abbott and, for a while, did become a planner of sorts. Returning to writing he went to David Abbott’s new agency AMV followed by WCRS and was then ECD of Leo Burnett for six years. He then returned to AMV before moving to Publicis and then Lowe in Hong Kong at the inception of the ‘World’s Local Bank’ campaign for HSBC. He now works as a writer and strategist as well as running advertising courses for senior clients.

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