CV: PETER SOUTER Creative director, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

I've got a sketchbook from when I was about 12, in which I drew a picture of myself as a 24-year-old and wrote by it "advertising executive", not even knowing what an advertising executive was.

At 16, I got ungraded O-level English language - which, for a writer, must be something of a record - but then I got two As and a B in my A- levels. What I liked was drawing, and I blagged my way into St Martin's School of Art in London. I did my interview in my pyjamas, so that they wouldn't notice I hadn't got any work to show.

In the second year, one of my tutors said "You're a copywriter". I thought that meant I was bad at design. But it was true that what I really liked was thinking of something smart to say, and setting it in a fancy typeface.

So I bought the Design & Art Direction books - which have in them the best ads of the year - and found that the ads I always liked were by David Abbott. And, having done a two-week work placement at his agency, Abbott Mead Vickers, I decided I wanted to work for him. There was an ad for Volvo with a hitch-hiking student holding a sign which said "Cambridge - Volvo preferred", so I stood outside David Abbott's house with a sign saying "AMV - Volvo preferred". The first day he didn't see me, but the second he picked me up in his Volvo and took me into the office - but he wouldn't give me a job because he thought my work was no good.

But I had a portfolio of rough ads, and at college I'd won a prize for one of my headlines, which read: "Some women are too embarrassed to have a cervical smear test. Last year 2,000 women died of embarrassment". So I did the D&AD evening course, where you receive a brief and then go into an advertising agency and show them your work - and I got a job at Delaney Fletcher Delaney. I started in 1985, doing trade ads, and found I was quite good at it. And I loved the idea of someone wanting to give you money for just sitting thinking of silly jokes.

After three years there, I went to an agency called Woollams Moira Gaskin O'Malley. That was a miserable time, but, after 18 months, a guy I'd met at Delaneys rescued me to go and work at Wight Collins Rutherford Scott.

What I did there was the electricity privatisation campaign. My partner and I won that business, and went from earning pounds 15,000 to about pounds 50,000. That's where I learnt to do my job: we made 22 commercials, working every day for seven weeks and, when the Gulf war broke out, we had to keep changing the scripts because all our jokes were about dead people. We sold pounds 5bn worth of shares, it was a huge success.

But I still wanted to work at AMV, so I sent a tape to them of all the ads I'd done - and finally got a job as a junior copywriter. Since then I've worked on campaigns for Volvo, Pizza Hut, BT, Cellnet and the RSPCA, and my partner and I have won a lot of prizes.

Two years ago, I was offered quite a good job somewhere else, which I didn't want, but I wanted to find out what David Abbott thought. He agreed to see me, and made me deputy creative director. Three months ago, I was made creative director. I've got no talent for anything else, yet my strange combination of being able to write and having a vague understanding of what motivates people is perfect for this job.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Recruitment Genius: External Relations Executive

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This established Digital Agency based in East ...

Guru Careers: Sales Director / Business Development Manager

£35 - 45K + COMMISSION (NEG): Guru Careers: A Sales Director / Business Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee