Lifetime Achievement: Collett Dickenson Pearce

Though its glory days ended in the 80s, CDP has won more D&AD awards than any other ad agency. Lord Puttnam, who worked there in the 60s, pays tribute to the qualities that made the agency unique

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Was CDP the best agency in the world? There was a moment where that was true, but more importantly it was the best place in the world to be working. There were no better influences to be surrounded by and no better set of values you could be influenced by.

The three founders [John Collett, Ronnie Dickenson and John Pearce] had a sense of history and of what advertising could be. We joined an organisation that had a clear set of values – to be creative, to look at what was possible and not just follow the herd. If more young people could work for the people we worked for 50 years ago, the world would be a better place.
Colin [Millward, CDP creative director] had extraordinary standards. Any word of praise from him was worth thousands from anyone else because you had to earn it. His standards, his determination, his refusal to accept bad work or work with clients who wanted shoddy work, that’s what this award is about.

One of my best memories of CDP is of the open auditions Colin held on Wednesday afternoons for people who wanted to come and work at the agency. You would get a whole world of people sitting nervously outside his office waiting to go in. That was where I first came across Charles Saatchi, Alan Parker – a lot of very prominent people started life outside his office.
CDP was our university. We grew up there, we met our friends for life there. The values that you bring to your work, the standards, your refusal to compromise, your understanding of what creativity is are what I learned at CDP and every person who worked there feels the same way.

The above is an edited transcript from a filmed interview by D&AD. See the final film on the CR iPad App

01 Collett Dickenson Pearce
02 DDB London (inc BMP)
03 Saatchi & Saatchi London
05 Bartle Bogle Hegarty London
06 TBWALondon
07 DDB London (pre 89)
08 DLKW Lowe
09 Wieden + Kennedy UK
10 Wieden + Kennedy Portland