Thursday, April 10, 2008

Paul Arden


Paul Arden's ads were brilliant, and by all accounts he was a brilliant creative director too.

But what strikes me the most - reading all the stories about him in Campaign, and on various blogs - is... just how many stories there were about him. Stories of how he punched people, fired people, urinated in a window box. Or offered to reduce his own salary to fund the hiring of a down-on-his luck Tim Mellors.

Thinking further about this theme... I'm sure we could all tell stories about every one of the CD's of Britain's Top 20 agencies, couldn't we?

This leads me to wonder - to have a great career, as well as being great at advertising of course, do you need to be the sort of person that others tell stories about?

Do you need to be extreme?

What if you're not. Can you fake it?

Or, deep down, are we all profoundly weird and individual... but most of us - for whatever reason - don't let enough of our real selves out like Paul Arden did.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are some CD's out there who are fake, some who are ruthless arseholes, some who are friendly, some who are drunk, some who are arrogant, some who are soft as shit. It doesn't matter - if the work you do commands respect, you can be however you want to be and you will get the recognition you deserve.

However, if we ALL let ourselves go, then nothing would work. There needs to be a balance of eccentricity and restraint.

James Feess said...

I would like to hear some good stories. Story time!

Matt said...

Arden, Fred & Farid...

If I piss somewhere in your office, could you love me too, Scamp?

proxikid said...

I had a pleasure of meeting the man a few times. Paul was a fantastic person, he saw something interesting in almost everything and was always ready to give an advice on how to improve things to make them more edgy or arresting or just visually stunning. Brilliant mind. He was interested in all things new and worked a lot with students. He saw when someone had a potential and tried to help them bring it out. I haven't seen him do anything horrendous. But I can imagine he could!

Lunar BBDO said...

I know another office pisser (potplant). Lovely guy otherwise. I think he'd had too many Um Bongos. Does that count?

Anonymous said...

Scamp,

I don't think it's about being "extreme". That just sanctions self-indulgent, wilful and juvenile behaviour.

I think it's about having conviction.

And passion.

And purpose.

And integrity.

They're rare qualities to find in any one person.

Any any person in whom those qualities live, is to my mind, worth talking about, celebrating, and telling stories about.

rdsrae said...

Be yourself, surely. Always. Otherwise your whole life is a joke.

What was it that Mr T Beattie said?

"Be yourself, because no-one else can do it as well as you."

rjhayter said...

Scamp, did you do the new RS6 commercial? It doth rock.

JJ said...

It can't rock. Shit don't rock.

Scamp said...

I didn't do the RS6 ad. Haven't done an ad in a while, in fact. Worked on a few things, but they didn't come off. Maybe I need to piss in a few more plant pots.

Ted said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ted said...

Paul was much more than an extraordinary or extravagant creative and Director.
He had the genius of a child.

We did this with him:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=falIQVhQm0c

Ciao Paul!
ted

Anonymous said...

very few people ever have the courage to purely be themselves. i suspect PA was one of these. and he was very clearly a very passionate man. that too takes courage. so perhaps it was his courage that drew people to him.

never met him. but i idolized his work when i was starting out back in the day. on the mean streets of compton.

rjhayter said...

Arden's work was fantastic, and I each of his books is inspirational. But I know someone who worked under him at Saatchi's who described him as a "wanker". Takes all sorts, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

I think the fame fuels the fiction.

In the last 3 months I've heard countless stories about Juan and his crazy ways. How he does no work from 9-5, just walks around galleries and strange comic shops, then starts his working day at the office as everyone goes home. How he tells placements there ideas have been presented then nicks them. I'm sure I'll hear he sleeps upside down in a filing cabinet next, and eats only pens.

Anonymous said...

Look at his clothes.

There was no way Arden had talent.

He's got a suit on a bad hair cut.

Real creatives look creative.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah, let's hear more stories about Juan. We want to know everything. More please.

Shut your pie hole said...

@ 10:43 AM Anon

So he spends most of his time getting inspired out of the office, so what? Judging by his results, it works quite good for him, don't you think? You should try it.

Those accusations about placement teams are absurd. He doesn't need to nick anything, he's got real talent and even dresses like a creative.

Anonymous said...

Take away Gorilla and Balls (both nicked) and he's starting to look pretty ordinary.

You sure he doesn't need to nick anything?

Anonymous said...

It's been discussed, he didn't nicked them.

Comparing his ads with his sources is like saying what you eat and what you shit is basically the same.

shut your pie hole once more said...

Even if you take away those, there's Tate Britain Posters, Tate Tracks, Paint, Bunnies, Experiment.

Anonymous said...

What you eat and what you shit IS basically the same. Mostly water, proteins, bacteria, cellulose, fats, you know stuff like that.

What I shit however I often stick a headline on and present it to clients who want bad advertising. They love it.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 12:22 PM

Touché old bean... Touché.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:17 PM Anon
If you think it's the same, you've got to find a better cook, mate.

And about improving your eyes, er, try getting something at TK MAX.

Anonymous said...

I presume I meant your ads.

Anonymous said...

leave poor Juan alone, he's only 12 !

Anonymous said...

10:43 AM Anon, urban legends only. Juan is as boring as the rest of us. Only better looking.

Anonymous said...

For the most part, the interesting characters with passion have been replaced by mediocre drones. As the drones have taken over, they've surrounded themselves with the familiar and the boring.