0.00.03 I am Peter D, I work in WPP, which is one of the world’s largest marketing services group. When I was at school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had this kind of, on the one hand the creative side, and on the other side, the more logical side. But I also like business. I had even from a very early age a little business of my own. This was the kind of thing I used to make, this is a little flower pot covered in shells. I used to sell them in our shop and I used to sell them in lots of other shops in Devon.
00.00.30 To be honest my parents weren’t well off. My father worked seven days a week, there wasn’t any easy money. If I was going to have any money of my own I had to earn it, and I guess it was that environment that encouraged me to start to, you know, make my way. My parents were into fish, they were fishermen. These were the boats where we used to go out and catch all the fish that come from Devon. This was the shop where I used to live, an old thatched cottage in Dawlish, and this is where I had my childhood.
00.01.04 I like to spend time with my family. It’s very, very important. I have a lovely wife and three quite young children. I never hear the end of if I’m not home on a Friday night for family night and so on. So family is very important. We live in a place called Stanlake Park. At Stanlake Park we make wine, and when I’m not working on the weekends, I have a lot to do with wine, not just drinking it, although that’s very pleasurable, but making it and establishing a brand as well.
00.01.32 I was very, very lucky because I had a good careers advisor, and the biggest thing that came out from spending quite a lot of time with this person was my love of business. The person said, ‘well why don’t you just go and do marketing?’ The great advantage of marketing is you will be doing the science and the creativity, the logic and the magic. And that really grabbed my imagination. And so I applied to Unilever, and again I was very lucky, I joined Unilever.
00.02.02 I worked for them for 14 years and I worked all around the world but, you know, I decided I didn’t want to spend my whole life in Unilever. At the age of 34, I left Unilever, everybody advised me that I probably shouldn’t have done that, that I was throwing away something very important, but I started my own company called Added Value. It was centred on marketing, so that’s what I did, I went around the world advising clients on brands, growing brands. Things went well and we grew the company and we got some clients and Unilever were a client after a few years.
00.02.33 So that is what I did for 12 or 13 years. What happened after Added Value is we became owned by WPP, so I have been in WPP for seven or eight years now, and one of the things I do quite a lot of is help people see the wood from the trees. I’m a little bit a GP of marketing, you know, people come to quite often when their brand is not so well or maybe it is well but it could go even better, and say, ‘how do we use the resources of WPP?’
00.03.07 Prudential, which is a big insurance company, were going to call their Internet bank ‘Prudential Online’. I needed to persuade them that this was not going to be a good idea, and so we invented the name ‘Egg’. Actually ‘egg’ already existed as a name obviously just like apple or orange, you know, this was a hijacked brand, but I remember the toughest board meeting I ever had to attend, trying to convince these very conservative members of the board that calling their Internet bank Egg.
00.03.38 They thought it was a joke, they thought it was a windup, you know you may have an Egg card, I don’t know, and it got launched and it was very successful. I have been very lucky, although a famous golfer once said, you know, ‘it seems to be that the more I practice the luckier I get’. Life is not a rehearsal. You do have to work hard but it does increase your chances of success.