Looking back, I wasn't being stretched at all. But I did courses in video editing, and Renaissance art, and became editor of a magazine for the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce. I got interested in advertising and started doing CAM (Communication, Advertising and Marketing Education Foundation) certificates at night school and applied to agencies in London.
I got a shed-load of rejection letters, saying that while my CV was impressive, I had no relevant experience, but I kept at it. Eventually, in 1988, I became an account manager at Hall Advertising in Edinburgh, at the time the strongest agency outside London. I worked on a number of bits of business before being promoted to running the team that was doing the "You Can't Get Better Than A Kwik-Fit Fitter" advertising.
In 1990, for personal reasons, I moved to London. This was at the start of the recession, and it was hard to get a job in ad agencies in London, but through a head-hunter I got introduced to Imagination, a design and event company, and I was totally seduced by it. They worked for Ford, and asked me to join them.
Through working alongside people from Ogilvy and Mather, Ford's advertising agency, I got the offer of a job, in 1992. I was there for five years, and worked on almost every bit of the business; for the last two and a half years I jointly ran it. I worked on the "What do you do in yours?" Escort campaign, and the recent Fiesta "Faces" advertising.
I got married, and came back from honeymoon with this big idea of not just doing Ford's own advertising, but also the advertising that the The manufacturer's advertising didn't necessarily bear any relation to the advertising at the point of sale; we created consistency between the two.
After that I was wondering what the next big challenge would be, and a friend introduced me to Adam Lury, of the agency Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury. They'd won a top-secret project: working with British Airways to investigate the feasibility of setting up a new low-cost airline. I've worked exclusively on that for the last nine months.
This week I begin as sales and marketing director for Go airline. I jumped at the chance, as it's both a personal challenge and a business challenge. Having got a lot of experience on the marketing side, I've now got to learn about the sales side, and a new industry. The business challenge is that I'm going to be setting up a pounds 100m-a-year business.
British Airways generates mixed reactions. The challenge is to make this a success, when there's a lot of people watching who would be happy for it not to be. But I believe in this concept. Putting travel within the reach of more and more people is a worthwhile thing to do.Reuse content