David Abbott is Dead. Long Live David Abbott.

By shiftingsol / /

You may have heard the news already; legendary adman David Abbott passed away at the weekend, aged 75.

David Abbott photographed by Julian Hanford

I never worked with him or even met him, but my relationship with him was special to me. Quite simply, he was ‘the man’. He was the guy I wanted to emulate. As a copywriter, a businessman and a gentleman, he set the benchmark – impossibly high. At college, his copy was the text we learned from. Intelligent prose that charmed and seduced, forming arguments you couldn’t disagree with, building brands and a legacy with just these: words.

His reel is better than just about any agency’s in the world. He was a master of his craft and a giant in a cut-throat industry, yet you won’t find anyone with a bad word to say about him.

Anyone wishing to emulate his achievements may want to start here: “I write with an Artline 200 Fine 4.0 Pentel – blue ink, never black. I generally work on A3 layout pads but will sometimes switch to an A4. Definitely low tech stuff.”

I used to pass him on my way to work on the King’s Road in Chelsea. This white-haired gent was a nobody as far as everyone else was concerned. But to me, he was a rockstar. A part of me wanted to stop him and tell him I was a writer too, though he was in a different universe to me. I never did work out what I’d have followed that up with. It would have been awkward for both of us – though no doubt he would have been charm personified.

I didn’t have posters of him up on my wall like I did Kevin Keegan, but I held him in the same heroic regard. His hit-rate was phenomenal. Did he ever write a duff ad in his life? I don’t think he had it in him.