David Abbott, writer, book lover, inspiration

David Abbott, one of advertising’s best known, most accomplished and best beloved writers died last Saturday 17 May. One of the founders of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, he was responsible for a huge number of famous ads and campaigns for clients including BT, Sainsbury’s, The Economist and Volvo.

My two editions of D&AD’s Copy Book are both particularly well-thumbed on the pages featuring a selection of Abbott’s work, including his beautifully eloquent and heartfelt Father’s Day press ad for Chivas Regal. 

Another of Abbott’s most celebrated creations was his J. R. Hartley ‘Fly Fishing’ commercial for Yellow Pages, a perfectly measured, genuinely moving ad in which an elderly man visits various second-hand and antiquarian book dealers as he attempts to track down an out of print book. As the son of booksellers and a book lover, this ad always struck a chord with me – perhaps even more so today as independent bookshops and even big chains are closing down in ever increasing numbers.

Unsurprisingly David Abbott loved books and bookshops, as he demonstrates in his inimitable way in the film below. I never met him, but I’d like to thank him.




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