Chris Wilkins was deputy creative director at BMP when I was a junior copywriter.

I’d trained at art school in New York to go into advertising.

It was everything I wanted to do.

Chris was different.

He was posh and clever.

Think of a straight Stephen Fry.

He got a double first in English at Cambridge.

So his first love was writing.

Real writing: literature, not copywriting.

For Chris, advertising was something you did while you were waiting to get your novel published.

Don’t get me wrong, Chris was good.

(He did Smash Martians with John Webster.)

But he often referred to advertising as ‘a miniaturist art’.

Whereas I loved it, Chris tolerated it.

It was summed up for me one night when we were talking in the pub.

Someone asked us, “What are your school friends doing now?”

In the same breath, Chris said, “Brain surgeons” and I said, “Train drivers”.

That was the difference.

Advertising was the bottom rung of his ladder and the top rung of mine.

It just happened to be the same rung.

For Chris advertising was a perfectly acceptable way to make a living.

But it was just a means to an end.

For me it was the end in itself.

Chris was happy just to do ads that people liked and enjoyed watching.

I wanted to do ads that changed things.

Ads that upset people.

Ads that made a difference.

So who was right?

The answer is you need both.

In different circumstances.

If you’re the market leader and you want to maintain the status quo, you need Chris’s type of advertising.

Urbane, charming, witty.

But if you want to challenge whoever’s number one in your market and disrupt the status quo, then you need my type of advertising.

Aggressive, challenging, confrontational.

Think of it as a terribly civilised tea party.

If it’s your tea party and you’ve invited a select group of guests, you’re interested in having a nice time.

You don’t want any nasty surprises.

But if you’re looking in from outside, and you haven’t been invited, that’s exactly what you do want.

To kick the door in, take their tea and cakes, and upset the party.

Get in – get it done – get out.

So I didn’t need elegant language.

My motto was ‘the best words are the least words’.

Words, for me, were just a means to an end.

Whereas words were the end for Chris.

I was once discussing this difference with him.

I said, “You’re much more…er…….something than me. What’s the word I’m looking for? You know, the word for when you can think up exactly the right word?”

Chris said, “Articulate?”

I said, “Yeah, that’s it.”

Which is why Chris now writes books that are proper literature.

Hundreds of pages long.

I did a book, but other than the fact that it has two covers and some pages, it has nothing in common with Chris’s.

Mine is just a collection of short pieces, nothing longer than three pages.

I don’t write literature, I write ads.

Get in – get it done – get out.