Tuesday, 8 April 2008

A Maverick Who ‘Was Never Dull, Ordinary Or Safe'

I wasn’t familiar with Paul Arden’s legendary work in advertising when I first bought his books “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be” and “Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite”. But his books stood up on their own: quirky, punchy little books which inspired the reader and got you thinking about things in a different way. They were really effective with their punchy copy and use of photographs and images. And you could read them in an hour. I particularly loved “Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite” and bought copies for clients and friends one Christmas.

Paul died earlier this month and there is an excellent tribute from Dave Trott in Monday’s Independent newspaper.

Trott describes a man who had no fears, no obstacles to moving through his professional life.

When Paul wanted to quit his job as a creative director at one agency to be an art director at Saatchi, it didn't look like a smart move to me. (But) in his first year at Saatchi, he won a prestigious D&AD award. He became creative director, and was behind Saatchi's best decade ever. When he said he was going to leave Saatchi to direct commercials, I said, "Paul, you're mad. Don't do it."
In his first year as a director, his production company won the Palm d'Or at Cannes. Then came his debilitating breathing problems.
And so he said he really fancied being a best-selling author. And I said, "You know, advertising books have a very limited market. It probably won't sell outside of London."
Paul's son, Christian, told me last week that Paul's first book has sold another 100,000 copies just in the first three months of this year, and it's already in its fourth year of printing. Wherever I've been in the world, I've seen copies of it in German, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Japanese... whatever is the local language. In New York, CEOs buy it by the crate to give a copy to everyone in their company.

Here’s to a maverick who ‘was never dull, ordinary or safe'...

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