WPP Advisory Board & Columnist

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Jeremy B

0.00.03 My name is Jeremy B, my background is advertising and, but for the last 20 years, and I have officially retired 20 years ago, I have been with WPP first as an independent director, and now on the advisory board, and I always have a kind of outside life writing columns for trade press, the Guardian and so on. But there is no one word or phrase that describes what my job is, which is why it’s so wonderful, really.

00.00.34 All my life from early school onwards, I always came bottom in maths and bottom in most things and top in English, and I think that is quite a familiar state for lots of people. Writing is what I knew I could do, and fast-forward to university where I got very involved in writing things for the stage, review things, rather like the Oxford equivalent of the footlights.

00.01.10 Some of that was finally televised by the BBC. That was 1954, the director at JWD wrongly thought that because the work he had seen was on television, those who had done it must know something about television, which is entirely untrue, I had just picked it up from the stage and photographed it.

00.01.31 Anyway, he asked one or two of us, sent a letter saying if we would be interested in a job in advertising, would we come and have a conversation, which I did, and was offered a trainee job as a trainee copywriter in JWD. And entirely by chance, I hadn’t thought about advertising but I did know that these were one of the few companies that paid somebody who enjoyed writing to write.

00.02.01 And I was there for the next 33 years. Well I enjoy family, I have been married for 51 years, have got have three children, eight grandchildren, they take up time, but mostly pleasurable time. My parents split when I was about five. I don’t remember my father at all, although I later discovered that he had once worked in advertising.

00.02.32 But I don’t think even at some kind of subconscious Freudian level that had any influence whatsoever. My mother was not a very well lady, and I don’t think she had any interest in my having a career of any kind ever. I mean she wasn’t that interested that I went to university, she certainly, when I was sent down after two years because I was reading English and getting nowhere and just doing all my writing, she didn’t seem to mind at all.

00.03.02 She was mostly wrapped up in her. So I had no family influence at all. When you know a trade as well as I know advertising, you know that there are good bits and there are not so good bits. When you think of other trades that you have never worked in, you are aware of the good bits, but you are not so aware of the bad bits. So I think if somebody said to me, ‘if you were starting again, would you start in advertising?’ I would probably say no.

00.03.37 And after six or seven years I would probably bitterly regret it, because it has been full of surprises and extensions. There is no limit to what you are encouraged to explore mentally and that’s…I don’t know whether that is true of other trades, but I’ve certainly been grateful to this one.


From an early age, Jeremy enjoyed writing. He dropped out from university, joined an advertising agency as a copy writer and has worked in the advertising and marketing industry for over 50 years.

More information about Advertising and public relations directors

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

45%  male 
55%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Advertising and public relations directors plan, organise, direct and co-ordinate the advertising, public relations and public information activities of an organisation.
Entry is generally via career progression from related occupations (e.g. Advertising Accounts Manager, Public Relations Officer) and although there are no pre-set entry standards, in practice most advertising and public relations directors hold a degree. Off- and on-the-job training is provided.
  • Liaises with client to discuss product/service to be marketed and develops the most appropriate strategy to deliver the objectives;
  • Defines target group and implements strategy through appropriate media planning work;
  • Conceives advertising campaign to impart the desired product image in an effective and economical way;
  • Reviews and revises campaign strategy in light of sales figures, surveys, etc. and takes appropriate corrective measures if necessary;
  • Stays abreast of changes in media, readership or viewing figures and advertising rates;
  • Directs the arranging of conferences, exhibitions, seminars, etc. to promote the image of a product, service or organisation.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries for this job
Advertising, etc 10337
Head offices, etc 5935
Veterinary 2230
Legal & accounting 1884
Film &  music 1500
Libraries, etc 1227
Membership organisations 1091
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