Lifetime Achievement: Tony Brignull

David Abbott, co-founder of AMV, reveals the qualities that led to Tony Brignull winning more D&AD awards than any other copywriter

I first worked with Tony in 1965 at Doyle Dane and then at the end of our joint careers at AMV in the 90s, but I kept a wary eye on him in the intervening years and was admiring and envious of the great work he was doing.

He was working with Neil Godfrey mostly, during the glory years of CDP, and he was one of the group of six or seven people who made CDP famous throughout the world for the quality of their work.

I think they added, to the soundness of their thinking, charm and wit. They were attention-getting. It was advertising that you liked and, therefore, if you liked the advertising, you liked the client. It had gaiety as well as soundness. It was also honest and disarming – all the qualities you like in a person, they brought to their client’s persona.

The man and the work are pretty indivisible. Tony is very intelligent. He’s also very emotional – he’s a very good poet. He’s a very honourable man – I don’t think he’d tell a lie in an ad – and, he’s an original thinker. He’s intuitive, he makes connections that most people wouldn’t. And he’s a good student of human behaviour.

What great copywriters have always done is, firstly, to find a way of solving the advertising problem. The second part is the execution and that has to be gloriously crafted. The great copywriters like Tony did both parts supremely well.

He would be just as effective today, although he would probably have to take slightly shorter lunches.

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

01 Tony Brignull
02 John Webster
03 Tom Carty
03 Eric Kallman
05 John Salmon
06 Nick Gill
07 Mike Cozens
07 Nick Worthington
09 David Abbott
10 Steve Henry

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