Seven ages of a creative: Graham Fink

The ad creative behind iconic work for British Airways, Dixons, Land Rover, and more reflects on 40 years in advertising, being the agent for the world’s first social humanoid robot, and the fast pace of our intoxicating digital future

For this special project, we talk to 12 creatives and designers aged 19 to 87 about their experiences in the creative industry, their hopes and dreams, the changes they have witnessed during their career so far, and what further developments they hope may come in the future. Here we talk to ad creative Graham Fink

Graham Fink started his career in advertising by dressing up as an old man. Having just finished art school in 1981, he and his copywriter partner went to look for a job at Collett Dickenson Pearce, then one of London’s top creative shops and home to the likes of Alan Parker and Neil Godfrey. When they met with one of the creative directors, however, they were told that the agency didn’t take students and was looking for someone more senior.

“We left and were obviously very disappointed, and as we walked up the road back towards the station, I had this flash of inspiration,” Fink tells CR. “We went to Oxfam and bought a couple of really long overcoats and walking sticks. I tried to peroxide my hair white and it didn’t work, so we ended up buying a big tub of baby talc that we put in our hair, and then we put these wrinkles on each other.”

Top: Poster campaign for Benson & Hedges cigarettes, 1985; Above: Graham Fink

When the duo turned up at the office again the next day in full old man garb, the receptionists found the stunt so amusing they agreed to play along with it. “We ended up showing our book to everybody, and then one of the creative directors said to leave a book overnight. The next day we picked it up and he said, ‘We’d like to hire you,’” says Fink.