Paul Arden: a true maverick
Paul Arden died yesterday after a long illness. As executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi during its heyday, Arden was responsible for some of the great campaigns of British advertising, including British Airways and Silk Cut. But he will also be remembered as one of the great characters of the industry
Arden's unconventional management style is legendary. When a piece of work failed to meet his exacting standards, it was not unknown for him to express his displeasure by jumping up and down on it. Yet the majority of those who worked with him cite his great passion and unyielding perfectionism as utterly inspirational. Even after stepping down from his full-time agency career, Arden continued to devote time to helping students and young creatives.
In 1993 Arden set up the film production company Arden Sutherland-Dodd. In his latter years, as well as opening a photography gallery, Arden and Anstruther, in Petworth, Sussex, he developed a highly successful second career as a writer. A weekly column in The Independent was followed by the publication of his first book, It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be, which sold over half a million copies. This was followed by two more titles, Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite in 2006 and, last year, God Explained In A Taxi Ride.
He was a true maverick, the like of which is increasingly rare in advertising today. Creative Review would like to open up this space as an online book of condolences to mark Arden's unique contribution. If you would like to post your tribute to Arden here, please use the comment space below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
His first book " It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be" is amazing - a real eye opener and should be read by all creatives...
Sad news for the industry.
” It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be” was on my reading list when I started university, it was the one book that was really truly inspirational to me and I thank him for that. His work will live on to inspire others. Thanks Paul.
I had the great pleasure/fear working under Paul at Saatchis for 6 years.
He was inspirational.
He was terrifying.
He was subborn.
He was passionate.
He was an account mans nightmare.
He was a creatives dream.
He was a pain in the arse.
He was a great tutor.
He was brilliant.
Most of all, he was a good bloke.
The world's a duller place without Paul.
I read "It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be" just the other day (whilst under the English channel) and absolutely loved it. It was somehow simultaneously forehead-slappingly obvious and mind-blowingly inspirational - much like his best work.
A sad day.
Paul Arden was one of the most exceptional creative directors I've known, with an individualism and passion for perfection that resulted in some of the best advertising of the 80s and 90s.
He was awarded numerous Yellow Pencils throughout his career, and a Black Pencil in 1991 while still at Saatchi & Saatchi. Graham Fink presented him with the President's Award in 1996 for a contribution to creativity that really can be considered outstanding.
Paul Arden's passing will leave a hole in British advertising - his idiosyncrasies made him unforgettable and his generosity and encouragement to students and young creatives is an example to all.
I'm currently reading 'It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be' and it has been, and will continue to be, an immense source of inspiration for me not just on a creative level but on a life level.
I think he will leave a great void in the creative arena. The consolation is that he left a vast body of inspirational work for everyone to enjoy and be inspired by for a long long time to come.
Paul was a true gent, a listener, passionate, tireless and above all a brilliant man...we have no-one in this industry like him, and that is a great loss.
Bravo Paul!..you made a difference!
He took the God's taxi.
Ciao Paul, mi mancherai!
As an Advertising student, his books were some of the first I read, they opened my mind and gave me a passion for the industry. It is not only his passion for the industry that comes across in his books, but also his obvious passion for life. Without even meeting the man, he has been an inspiration to all my classmates and me.
That is when you know someone is special.
This is very sad news for not only the Ad industry but all the business industry to, I think books such as "It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be" is an eye opener to far beyond the ad creatives & marketing execs.
As the true great he was, Paul will live forever.
My heart is with his family & friends. It must of been a real honor to know him.
One evening, before going to a celebration, we (his creative group at Saatchis) were summoned by Paul to gather in his office to figure out how we were all going to get there. "Er yes...yes. Mike er, you've got a car! Chris you've got a car! Tim you've got a car! ...There's someone else...some one else who's got a car..."
Paul repeated this litany several times more before suddenly concluding excitingly "It's-it's me...I've got a car!
I shall miss his lunacy and his genius. Rest in peace Paul. With much love. Digby.
just a fantastic bloke. if there was ONE creative director working now with his gifts, we wouldn't be in this creative mire.
cadbury's trucks? that's why the man died.
Paul Arden was a mentor & inspiration. He literally changed my life plucking me out of art school at 19 and what a roller coaster ride that was. He taught me how to listen to your gut and to always do the unexpected. He recognized the unique quality in all things. The world will look a little less beautiful without him. Condolences to his family and friends.
Farewell oldboy. Your legacy will always guide those who are savvy enough to embrace your wisdom. Your literature certainly lives on in my life and career.
PS: If you're out there reading this, was god with you in that last taxi ride?
I first met Paul as a student and have now worked on many collaborative projects with him, out of which bloomed a great friendship. Paul was an inspiration to everyone who met him and no moment was boring in Paul's presence. His declaration of love for Amy Winehouse's music during a phone call 2 weeks back will make me think of him every time I hear her songs. He told me last year that when he leaves this world he wants it to be to the sound of a New Orleans marching band, so Paul this ones for you....
Paul was the best boss I ever had, an inspiration not only in advertising but in life, totally irreplaceable. I had the honour to be his PA in the golden years from 1986-92 and my daughter has the honour to be his goddaughter.
He set so many CDs on their path to glory and so many of today's creative bigwigs owe him so much.
I can still recall his voice yelling "Jeanette" and cannot believe I will never hear it again.
I cannot think of anything big enough to say that does not sound trite but indeed "there was a man". We are the richer for knowing him and the ad world is indeed impoverished by his loss.
Jeanette Nielson (formerly Marshall)
You never knew what you were going to do next with Paul. I went round to work on God Explained... with him last summer. 'I don't feel like doing anything today.' he said, 'Shall we go and watch some cricket?'
Half an hour later we were sitting down to a nice lunch at Andover watching Surrey v Sussex.
I loved working with him, it was just great and I am so sad that I'm saying this in the past tense.
The sad loss of a truly great genius of impeccable taste and originality, but with a wicked sense of humour.
He will continue forever to inspire the route of my life with his vast collection of work and unique ideas.
I told paul at the end of last year how I felt the luckiest girl to have spent the first six informative years of my career under the rather unorthodox mentorship of both Paul and Nick. I also reminded him of the fun, the tears, the wine, the trepidation and the insults he encouraged in the office, not knowing which I would pluck from the mix if I could only have one.
His secret little wink reassuring you he knew he was misbehaving made you feel part of his mischief.
Just 2 years ago after a dinner paul insisted on continuing the night with us all dancing and drinking in Shoreditch until the early hours. So much fun.
It's a sad day to have lost Paul from our party. Jax.
It feels rather strange that he has now gone. I've spent some valuable time with him recently, in fact I've spent some valuable and inspirational times with him since 1980, the time I first worked with Paul.
I'm an only child but I feel I have lost my grown up brother. All the time I'm seeing his face in my minds eye, his mannerisms and his joviality.
He died at the same age as my father, and my father died whilst I was working for Paul.
The loss of Paul is immense to me although at times we had some terrible disagreements, some of which lingered on for years. I just needed to feel he was there.
More importantly my heart goes out to his dear wife Toni and to his children.
Paul was the biggest, most anarchic, fresh and radical influence on my thinking and attitude to advertising when he was my boss at Saatchi & Saatchi from 1984-1994.
He was the most endearing, outrageous, inspirational, legendary, talked about person in the Creative department. (People used to go to est courses to learn how to walk into a room that he was in.)
For me he wasn't scary, or difficult to show work to. His was always a huge support, and got very excited if you wanted to do anything new. His influence has formed a great deal of who I am today.
Everyone will say the same thing about his Creative Directorship at Saatchi & Saatchi.
What they won't know about is how generous he and Toni have been to my students at Kingston University over the past two years.
He taught, supported, offered his gallery in Petworth, entertained, tutored and fed my students on inumerable occasions, and curated two shows for them, one on Nudes ("Shock me!", surely his mantra for life ) and the most recent "Unphotography"
Students are ungrateful but I am not.
Thank you Paul, for everything you have given me.
Much love, from Zelda
a master. He tought me a lot.
The world is indeed a much duller place without Paul. True original. I'm sure anyone who ever worked with him still carries his influence today. Everyone seems to have a Paul Arden story. He will be deeply missed but his was a life that should be celebrated.
Hilarious, mad, generous, brilliant and authentic.
I was about 5 or 6 and my dad and I went to see Paul and Toni. Dad was there to discuss some building works, and I was there because their garden was MASSIVE and they always had loads of fizzy drinks! We arrived and Dad went down to the house while I stayed out in the garden.
Now, I don’t remember how or why… all I remember is that it was Paul’s idea, Toni wasn’t around to tell him off, and I liked the sound of it.
We secretly collected all the necessary tools for the job and set out to complete the task.
So now there’s Paul, petrol can in one hand, matches in the other, and I had a ‘safety’ stick in mine. The Task was to “get rid of those bloody Rabbits”.
What we would do first is find a rabbit hole in the middle of the garden, pour the petrol down one end and then Paul would go to the other end of the garden and stand in the ditch facing the bank where all the rabbits seemed to come out of. He’d do a bit of guesswork and find the other end of the hole by smelling for petrol. Once he’d found it, he would call out to me ‘Right, got it’, then he’d step to one side, and I would prep a match on the end of a stick.
With me an arms length away and with Paul out of the firing line, I’d hover the lit match above the 4Star filled Rabbit hole.
The thing to remember with Rabbit warrens is that there is a third hole called a bolt hole, a hole which Paul forgot about…
BOOM, the match caught, I looked up to see not one but two huge flames blast out of the bank. One flame out of the hole that Paul found and another flame out of the hole Paul was standing right in front of. He shouted out “Arrh!” as the flames engulfed him and fell backwards into the ditch.
Shocked, I looked up to see what had happened. I couldn’t see him, I thought I’d killed him.
A moment passed and then Paul got up out of the ditch. He was fine, he still even had his eye brows.
That’s as much as I can remember, though I think we even carried on with the rest of the holes.
That moment at the Ardens I’ll never forget, and I’ll treasure it forever. Whether I was helping to hang paintings, lay floors, gaining career guidance or getting rid of rabbits, it’s always been so much fun going to the Ardens.
I grew up seeing Paul not as the creative genius that he was, but as an exciting and eccentric man who lived across the woods from me. The advice he gave me and the things we did together had a profound impact on my life, he is most certainly one of the biggest reasons I do what I do now and I will miss him very much.
One thing Paul was adamant about (and there were many!) was how quickly fashionable things go out of fashion...."The more classic looking you can make something the longer it will last", he'd tell us.
Paul was a truly classic guy in every sense of the word, his legacy will absolutely last for ever.
In a few years of working with him he taught me so much about advertising and life....what a legend, what a loss...
Im working on a brief at the moment where i need simple ideas to communicate complex issues, fast.Having just read these testomonials and had a quick flick through my copy of whatever you think... i set myself a task to come up with a good idea in half an hour...
I was scared to start with
I got an idea. (or at least the essence of one) I like it.
Nothing was impossible.
Characters like Paul are rare in our business. A true maverick and perfectionist who cared passionately about the standard of ideas and often went to the edge to make them happen.
Paul both inspired and helped me. His enthusiasm and seeming boundless talent was incredible and a lesson I have never forgotten.
Long live Paul Arden.
He made me brave -Thanks Mr Arden.
The second luckiest thing ever to happen to me professionally was to join Garland Compton as a junior writer just before they were taken over by Saatchis. The luckiest was, subsequently, to find myself in Paul's group.
And 'find myself' is exactly what I did. Although I heard Paul say more than once that "people don't read words, they only read pictures" - a slightly dismaying thought at first to a budding copywriter - he opened my eyes not only to the nature of creativity, but also to how much fun it can be. Thanks to him, and the lovely, clever people he gathered round him, it was the most fulfilling period of my agency career.
Thanks Paul, I will always be in your debt. And I miss you already.
Paul to us was not just Paul, he was half of Paul-and-Toni. They were the most wonderful couple and it is lovely to know that they were together when he finally died after his horrible illness. I remember him telling me that the most important thing to know about your spouse was that you would like it to be that person who was holding your hand when you died. I am glad he got that.
As for us, we only met him three years ago but in that short time he changed our lives and brought us great inspiration and happiness, not to mention a lot of fun. There is no one else like Paul, although his taste for simplicity in all things reminded me of William Carlos Williams.
As for Paul the advertising man; a mystery. To me he only talked about the past once, remembering a yellow mini dress Toni used to wear in the 60s. All I knew about his career was what I gathered from his book jackets. He will remain a great example for us of how to grow old - consistently generous and willing to renew himself, in love, creative, funny, and surounded by family and young friends to whom he was almost-crazily kind. We loved him.
Kate, Clement, Gabriel and Alexandra Daudy
Paul was an inspriation to me, and taught me a lot in the short period that I met him.
RIP god bless hima and all his loved ones! x
Paul Arden taught me more than I previously thought possible to absorb. Nor did I think it possible to love, hate, fear, admire, dread or or be in awe of a fellow human being. To call him a unique genius is no exaggeration.
The host of anecdotes about both this genius and his lunacy would fill a book on its own, but my favourite is this.
We were working on a pitch late at night at an art studio in town and Paul arrived to assess the progress. Whilst waiting to be shown the work, he took a stroll around the studio looking at the ads being prepared for some the other big agencies. Manic interferer that he was, he changed layouts, type sizes, picture croppings, etc, within minutes. The following morning art directors and typographers across London looked in either amazement or consternation at the results of his unexpected input. They don't make 'em like that any more.
Will I miss him? What do you think.
The very first time I presented to Paul, our new creative director, a selected print for a press advertisement I had art directed he looked at it for a few seconds, flung it onto the floor with a sweep of his had and said "What the fuck do you call this David?....I'll expect to see the reshoot tomorrow morning!" Thus was advertising, as I had known it, turned on its (and mine) head. A great guy, as everyone has already said, a huge inspiration. Funny,frightening,fearsome in his support of the creative department. A good friend, a generous friend. Will there ever be another like him? He would be overwhelmed to read all the wonderful things said about him. Twenty years or so since I last worked with Paul and I'm quite emotional today. Thinking of you Toni.
Paul, it's our loss. Sleep peacefully.
I'm afraid that I never got the opportunity to work with you Paul, nor did I ever meet you. However that has not stopped you from touching my life with your amazing words, great books and pure inspiration.
Thank you Paul. You will be greatly missed.
A painters studio. Saturday morning. Chiswick, West London. Paul and i had been invited to preview Terence Donovan,s first series of paintings. We both thought they had fantastic Zen like energy, very "Japanesse". Terence was delighted and with his "wedge" paid for lunch. He also presented us with a painting of our own choice. It,s the only thing i had in common with Paul,we were now the only two people owning a Donovan painting. Talent? Inspirational? Uniqueness? Forget it. Even though i tried hard for twenty odd years. He was a million light years ahead of anyone i knew in advertising, respect to Abbott, Trott and Webster.The finest Art Director and conceptional thinker of his generation. Adios Amigo. Max Henry. Spain.
I am a creative director of a small agency in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Paul's books were and still are a great inspiration to me. I hope he would be happy in knowing that his brilliant thinking has reached places he probably never imagined they'd reach. He will be missed.
I never knew or even met Mr. Arden. I found "It's Not How Good..." in a bookstore one day a few years ago, and I couldn't put it down. I read the whole thing at the store, then bought it. Ever since, it's always within reach when I need it.
Living in a small town in America, I just want those reading this to understand Mr. Arden's influential reach.
Reading the comments above, I've never met or worked with anyone in this industry in the way people describe him. He must've been a truly rare individual.
I am truely proud of the fact i have known Paul all of my life - to site one example of an occassion when i have felt proud: this new year - friends were exchanging late christmas presents and one was Paul's 1st book - the guy who received it exclaimed 'no way, this guy is a legend- what an awesome present!' he then gathered a group of equally enthusiatic 20 somethingyearold guys around him who (admittedly through a somewhat alcohol infused haze) all declared what a f**cking awesome guy Paul Arden was and how his books were 'seriously sweet'. Then one said proudly 'yeah i know him' - 'do you?' i said 'i've known him all my life', the guy backtracked a bit and said he had met him at a gallery opening - and yes i felt smug - and yes i enjoyed the renewed respect i had (!) But that's the effect Paul had - everyone wanted to know him and to know what he thought.
I have so many stories and memories of Paul, so here are just a few which come to mind:
Early memory: Paul storming out of the cottage bright red in the face and shouting at me and my friends when we were heading back from a walk over 'his grass', he then aplogised when he saw who it was -me aged about 12.
I worked for Paul and Toni in their gallery last summer and watched Paul put up a student exhibition - it was hilarious to see how agitated he got with the students, in a bid to get everthing just so and in exactly the right place. Not one minded being told off or shouted at, they just accepted it as an unwritten rule of working with Paul and knew the end result would be worth it. One afternoon after i had come home from helping with the student exhibition i heard the phone ring a couple of times, i was outside so didnt manage to answer, then i heard the familiar hum of Paul's golf buggy driving up the lane and the crunch of gravel as it came in to our drive. Paul had arrived - very out of breath to apologise for referring to me as the teagirl infront of the students; ' I upset you earlier didn't i?' 'as soon as i'd said it i saw you pale and knew i should't have said that.' Of course i hadn't minded and knew it was a joke, but Paul had got it into his head that he had really upset me which upset him. Having cleared the air, i asked if he would like a cup of tea to which he said yes and then demanded a specific type of biscuit - choclate chip shortbread i think...?! he wanted to know all about the party i was going to in London that night and where we all went dancing.
Paul has given me lots of advice over the years - about my singing (about coursework...) and about boyfriends...! One night when he and Toni were round for supper we ended up going through the photo album of my 18th birthday party and Paul proceeded to analyse all the boys and pick out the ones he thought would make good boyfriends- i was a bit disappointed when he landed on the most geeky looking one...
A couple of years ago i bought my friend Sam down from Birmingham to play the piano in a recital Paul and Toni hosted in their barn. Sam and i were rehearsing when Paul marched in, looked at Sam and said 'play me something, anything you like.' Paul didnt know that Sam was the most crippingly shy guy and all he could do was look down at his feet and freeze. The next afternoon Sam wanted to do some private practice in the barn but felt a little afraid of being asked to do an inpromtu performance,so i took him down and assurred him it was safe as no one was there- Sam didnt return for a very long time..., then finally arrived at my house with red wine stains on his lips having spent the evening chatting and playing for Paul - who he announced was 'a very nice man'.
The last time i saw Paul was between Christmas and new year -my parents, brother and i walked down to the cottage and had the most gorgeous lunch. I was able to tell Paul about everything i have been doing since moving to London, and the group i am now in - i was so happy to be able to share this with him because for a while i was unsure and quite down about what i was going to do with my life after music college, and he knew this. We have our first big gig this weekend, which i am so sad i never got to tell Paul about but i will be singing for him.
I speak for my parents, my brother and me - we all loved you Paul and life at Bedham will not be the same without you.
I was lucky enough to work with Paul at Gallaher Smail in the early 70's before he became famous. Yet all the attributes that created that fame were there.
A little bit of his magic rubbed-off, for which I am eternally grateful.
I only met Paul for the first time last year. He came to my uni to set us a brief for an exhibition that was to be exhibited at his gallery. Admittedly I was never quite sure what to make of him, he always kept us on our toes, never knew what he would say next (the more controversial the better!). But what i do know is that myself and my peers were so priviliged to have worked with Paul Arden (the legend!) and experince his, and Toni's, generosity. I really would love to have thanked him again for giving us such an amazing oppourtunity and the simple pleasure of working with him! He is a constant inspiration for so many... Thanks Paul
never knew the man personally, helaas, read his book though, i love people like him, the way they handle life, a shame he is gone, a shame there are so few like him and a damn shame he never did anything better with his life than spending it on advertising..
It's not true that Paul is dead, he will live forever!
I'm in the middle of his first book now! Very good book. Very sad news...
Just sorry I'll never have a chance to see or talk to him.
A Master !
i never had the chance to meet the man, but his book, 'its not how good you are, its how good your want to be' is a true inspiration to me and i carry it around with me always.
if i ever feel stuck on a job i just turn to that trusted little book for help, so thank you Paul Arden, you will be missed by all.
I was lucky enough to work with Paul for a few years about 30 years ago. I was already at Colman & Partners when he joined as creative director. It warms my heart to this day to recall how he transformed the place in no time.
All of us that responded to his encouragement, his goading, his flattery, his tantrums and his ever increasing demands were unquestionanbly changed for the better. You couldn't fail to be dragged along in the wake of such passion and ambition. He was by far the most inspiring person I have ever met.
Even all that time ago he was already the colourful, difficult but exciting Paul that everyone is still talking about today.
A few random examples from a patchy memory:
Paul quickly discovered that the media department was very detached from the planning and creative processes (this was back in the days when media was still all in-house). So he imposed a simple, down to earth solution: he made the media director move into his office full time.
Paul once tipped a glass of wine over my head at an office booze up. It wasn’t anything I’d said or done, “I just wanted to see what you’d say” was his reason.
Paul genuinely didn’t care who had the idea. I’ve seen him art direct ideas, or copy even, from account handlers, secretaries and media buyers. The exception to this is I’ve never heard of him warming to an idea from a client!
And does anyone remember the little ritual he once had of sniffing you all over. It was only carried out on newcomers but he would make a point of doing it in public - in a restaurant usually ...
I still make a living happily tinkering with words and pictures that sell things and only yesterday was trying to judge a piece of work by applying the ‘what would Paul Arden say about this’ test.
It’s fantastic to see that he has become something of a hero to many people. So if I had to sum him up in one word it would have to be: brave. Brave when he was starting out; brave even in success, when others would have just coasted and more brave than ever at the end of his life.
I worked for Paul at Saatchis in the 80's. I was doing ok, winning awards but not one of his favourites. One day he told me to stop being an Art Director and to become an Illustrator instead. I was very offended at the time.
Nick Schon, Illustrator
His first book ” It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be” was and still is my personal guide... sad to know about his departure...
Kudos where kudos is due. The Silk Cut campaign idea was Charles Saatchi's.
Better late than never, compared to many of the entries here. But, I was only an account man and working with Paul tended to make a late arrival no surprise to the client....
I was at the Brian Griffin opening yesterday at the gallery in Petworth, a wonderful day. Emotions were, as so often in connection with Paul, somewhat confused with the combination of the opening of the delightful exhibition of Brian's work and a tribute gathering for Paul. We stood in the sunshine outside the gallery and the talk was all of Paul and our fondest and funniest memories of him. What struck me was how much impact Paul had had on so many lives, in so many varied ways, yet always creative. In my particular case, his wisdom touched upon personal and family matters where his advice was trusted, taken and never regretted.
I know that Franco at Il Soriso would like to host a "lock in" lunch to celebrate Paul and his friendship so, if anyone who visits this site would like to participate, or knows anyone else who would, we could prolong the stories, the memory and the enjoyment of one of London's greatest advertising characters. Contact me on the email address- email@example.com
So, it's "Goodbye Paul", but you will be long remembered wherever folk gather to celebrate the finer madnesses of the advertising business.
My God, Paul's demise has dragged so many old faces back into my vague old brain....would he not just love that?....a virtual meeting!
Paul, along with Graham B, Danny and myself were the partners in Colman and Partners, which was no doubt the highlight of my thirty years in advertising. Infuriating, argumentative, but alwats brilliant.....I am surprised that so little has been made of the great campaigns he created there: Camping Gaz, Audemars Piguet, Citroen. All major award winners!
And, for those who remember such trivia, how can we forget that he had actually signed to join Dorland with me, the Dustbin boys, Iain Dunn, Mark Reddy.....and he rang me the night before it was announced in Campaign, to tell me that he was joining Charlie S instead....so he was going there rather than to Dorland.
I never quite forgave him that very uncharacteristic piece of disloyalty, until last year when he, Danny and I had lunch. he explained that Charlie had offered him a lower salary, but the "msot beautiful flat in Cadogan Square....I am really sorry David, but if you had seen it, you would have made the same decision".
You have to forgive a man like that.....the only true genius, I have ever met.
His books were a true inspiration.
Thank you Paul.
Funniest thing I ever heard him say?
Early 80's, he's trying to persuade MD that a colleague should be sacked.
"Because he's..he's...he's A CUNT!"
The MD replied (angrily) "So are you!!"
PA says "Yes...ah..but...I KNOW i am!!"
(I listened through a wall to hear that too)
Personally, I had a couple of great fights with him and though I worked with him on a number of occasions, we were never what you would call 'bezzies'.
On one occasion, when he was my CD, I (in his opinion) had overstepped the mark and I thought I was gone.
He was fuming and told me "You're like a fucking shop steward!!".
I calmly told him it was the most flattering thing anyone had ever told me.
Pissed himself laughing - job safe.
I haven't read his books (probably won't, as I only read the very best in mindless American detective crap).
And I'm certainly not going to wax lyrical either.
As I say, never had that kind of relationship with him.
I will however say, that if you went through your life, only ever encountering non-Pauls, it would be, as Shakespeare once said, 'as dull as fucking fuck'.
"It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be" by Paul, and "The Art of looking sideways" by Alan Fletcher, the best books in the business from two greats that we've recently lost.
I was very sad to hear of the death of Paul Arden. Anybody who had met Paul would never forget him. He was inspirational, eccentric, difficult, a perfectionist and a caring and warm-hearted individual. I was a tv producer at Saatchis and worked with him for many years. At one time we were trying to find a Voice over for an animated commercial and had tried several people that did not please him - 'What kind of voice do you want, Paul? I asked him plaintively - ' I don't know, I just don't know - make one up!'
He rang me when I was retiring to say he couldn't come to the party but that I was to be sure not to sit watching afternoon telly in my retirement but always to present myself with new challenges - good advice indeed, which I have followed and am very busy teaching.
His inspirational talent will live on in 'It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be'. He never ceased to be interested in everything and never gave up.
ITS LUCKY YOU CAN'NT PICK YOUR NEIGHBOURS!
GOD DOES IT SO MUCH BETTER!
IF WE HAD WE WOULD HAVE MISSED OUT ON THE THIRTY YEARS OF HOSPITALITY,SUPPORT,ENCOURAGEMENT,JOY,BEWILDERMENT, ADVICE AND LOVE WE HAVE RECEIVED FROM TONI AND PAUL.
KEY SWAPPING WITH PAUL WAS MEMORABLE. HE WANTED TO TRY A RIDE ON MOWER SO HE BORROWED MINE FOR A DAY AND IN RETURN GAVE ME THE KEYS TO HIS FERRARI!
NEW YEARS EVE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN.
THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS.
DAVID, ANNE, ALEAXANDRA AND RALPH.
You might never have been as you say bezzies with Paul but he always had the higest regard for you - to this day I can remember him yeling down the phone - "You see Eugene you can do it, I knew you could, I said you could!"
The world is indeed a duller place without him.
I was lucky enough to come within Paul's sphere of influence as a photographer in the mid eighties, through Zelda Malan and David Woodall. I found it a defining event and I am very thankful for his influence - If it matters a little bit, it matters infinitely.
I met Paul three months ago and I will never forget him.
He was sitting by his fireplace and he was wearing a pair of violet velvet trousers. He was handsome and very charming. I remember the sound of his voice and the noise of his point of view. He was curious and he will never die.
Paul Arden was a great inspiration to me, he helped be believe in myself, which I will always be greatful for.
He will be greatly missed. I only hope that I can help and inspire like he did!
God bless his soul!
I only just heard the sad news. Word takes a little longer to reach Australia. If I receive even half the tributes upon my death and they're even one eighth as complimentary I'll be happy.
i'll miss you.
Posterity will judge Paul Arden's contribution to aesthetics, but he certainly made rudeness an art form. I once judged the Singapore Art Directors awards with him. This meant being sequestered in a small room with five other judges for three days of intimate discussion, punctuated by the usual convivial lunches and dinners. On the final afternoon of judging Paul responded to a crack made by one of the fellow-panellist's by waiting until everyone else's laughter had stopped and then turning to the joker and saying "That was quite funny. What's your name?"
That evening, after the farewell drinks, Paul and I shared an elevator up to our rooms to collect our bags. When we got to our floor, there was an immaculately uniformed 40-something, greying-at-the-the-temples British Airways pilot waiting to get in. Without batting an eye, Paul - apparently mistaking him for a bellboy - grabbed him by the sleeve and said "Oh good. Wait here - I'll get my bags and you can take them down for me." As the man turned purple with rage and Paul sped off along the corridor, it was left to me to apologise to what was then I suppose his biggest client.
So, Ewan Pidgeon and I were sitting outside the Carps one night, which was not an uncommon event but the sight I was about to see was. I looked up to see Paul walking over towards us. Our irregular boss smiled and plonked himself down opposite us. "You two, you're from the north aren't you? Ewan, where are you from? "Am from Burnley, Paul". Paul's eye's lit up and he started to get all excited and animated, which only served to make us more nervous. "Burnley!!! Ah yes, Burnley! That's, that's just like Rome isn't it...Yes, yes, a town built on seven hills..." I looked at Ewan, Ewan looked at me, and we just fell about laughing. For all I know he might have been geographically correct but he'd obviously never been to Burnley.
I seem to remember him going into the pub and having a fist fight with Dave Woodall that night, or maybe that was on another rare visit.
Anyway, there was never a dull moment when Paul was around, a great British nutter if ever there was one and I'm proud to be able to say I knew him.
It was a great shame to hear Paul had passed away. The first time I met him, he was carving out some names on certificates for student awards with a chiselled pentel.
sadly not all art directors can do that.
I knew he was concentrating on spelling the names and sat there in silence until he had completely finished the name he was carefully writing. I remember thinking someone who takes such care over writing a students name truly cares about people. If he didn't care about people, he would not have given a hoot about the work Saatchi & Saatchi produced. He did this really pecuilar ad for TCP with a hand choking the throat. I had the pleasure of having to follow it up with another ad in the Paul Arden style for the nose. I imagined myself being propelled out of the 6th floor window at 400mph for my efforts. To my amazement, we got ad of the month. Nobody warned us. It just appeared in an agency newsletter. Although I only met Paul a few times, I was, and still am very grateful to have met him. I think I will always remember him as 'The Great Paul'... enemy of the good. He knew the difference such as few do. To get a great ad, you have to spend a disproportionate amount of your time to achieve greatness. It's the difference between stopping at base camp and having a cup of tea and going home and pushing yourself beyond your own boundaries and conquering Everest by sitting at the peak. That is what set him far beyond the good. Take care. He is looking down on us now with the most awesome creative director as a partner.
Truly, it is Not how good you are, but how good you want to be.
I read all Paul's books and wished there were more. I'm sad to know that Paul has passed on, but I'm happy to know that his wisdom lives in me forever.
It's amazing for me to know today, of how Paul has touched my life even when I was a kid in Asia. If I hadn't chance upon this website, I would not have known that Paul had a hand in that amazing BA advertisement. Delibes' Lakme was part of my music studies as a student, so imagine the joy when it appeared in the advertisement. I ran out to the TV everytime it played, it was an amazing concept that unweaves an amazing message. There was this sparkle in the ad that was hard to match.
Paul did wonders for me at work as well. I work for a foreign company in a male dominated industry. For 8 years, I worked very hard. I was getting 'there', but still not quite 'there'. Somehow I know I was capable of more but the circumstances were difficult. To leave was a pity, to continue was a struggle - till I read Paul's books. So I sat down and map out what I really wanted to achieve in life. But in order for me to achieve my personal goal, I needed my HQ to take whole new directions. Now, that was a Real circumstance in a traditional Korean / Chinese company.
I hesitated to talk to my boss. But Paul gave me the courage. Surprisingly, all it took only a 30 mins long distance call to put things right. He listened, and then my office listened, and now the industry is listening. I may have the talent, but Paul unleased greater potential in me. Not only that, he showed me the way to tackle my problems in simple logical ways. The road is still long for me, but I consider myself halfway to my goals already. So truly, it is not how good I am, but how good I want to be.
The books are now with my daughter. She's dyslexic and life can be a struggle for her at times. However, I'm sure the books will do wonders for her as it did for me. Actually, the books should do wonders for everyone. I think the Ministry should have it on their text book list someday soon. And if Pengiun is listening, please have this book translated to Mandarin / Korean so that I can share the wisdom with my boss and my colleagues?
Praise the Lord, for He has given us a good man!
Thank you Paul.
*I would like to have some flowers sent to Paul. Can someone please provide me his resting place? Thank you.
A guy with more USP's than any other job i've worked on.
You are no agency unless you have his books on your desk.
And you are no creative if you have never heard of him.
Last year I started at an agency in Finstock, Oxford that had not heard of him. I left soon after. Disgusted.
The advertising world will be a poorer place without his presence.
I was just re-reading one of Arden's books right now - As I wanted to read more on the internet I found out about this post.
There isn't much to say and comment about this. I really want to thank Paul for everything he did and stood for.
Thank you Paul.
I was fired from a job and although I didn't know it at the time the CD there quoted Paul's, "being talented is great, being nice is better, being both is a bonus" line at me by way of explanation for my sacking.
I didn't understand when I was fired, but I read the book and got it perfectly - I had the talent, just not the niceness.
I remember that all the time now and not only did it inspire me to be a better creative, it helped make me a better man.
Thanks Paul Arden.
very sad - but he was not a 'nice' man
A ex-girlfriend of mine had bought “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be” but hadn't read it yet. I saw it on her desk and read it in under 15 minutes. Put it down and read it again for the next 60 pondering over every bit of advice. Common sense, all of it, but put in away you NEED to hear it.
I read it now once every 3 months as a reminder to keep up the good fight of being a creative in a money driven complacent world. One of those you keep forever and pass on to the grand kids. Thanks Mr. Arden
When I read you, I have to close the book several times to reflect the deep simples truth of your words.
R ON PEACE.
"It's Not How Good You Are..." was an inspirational book when it came out. I was just re-reading it for the THIRD time, and decided I'd see what Paul had been up to lately. And sadly, I found out.
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Paul Arden Tribute,
A mentor of mine. I didn't met him but for his 3 books will effect my nerve on the new formation.
Without his word of wisdom....I felt useless so I'd make a bio articles for him here's the link.
I have just come across this article whilst stumbling, I didn't realise Paul had passed, very sad indeed, he was a true creative and pioneer. He will be missed.
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