in conversation with British advertising legends

Dave Trott

Born, 1947, Barking, Essex

Dave Trott started his working life in a factory in East Ham, age 15, as an apprentice before returning to college to study art. Passionate about art, his sister persuaded him to move to New York, for an art school scholarship, where he discovered graphic design.  Taught by people from the real ‘Mad Men’ ad agencies on Madison Avenue, he got his first job there as a copywriter. But the Eastender returned to the UK, after his student visa expired and to avoid conscription to Vietnam, landing a job at Boase Massimi Pollitt (BMP) under the tutelage of John Webster, where they welcomed his ‘New York style’. 

Dave worked at BMP for ten years, working on many still-famous campaigns such as Unigate’s ‘Ernie the Milkman’ with Benny Hill, inventing Courage’s ‘Gercha’ and Pepsi’s famous ‘Lipsmackinthirstquenchin’ advert. 

In 1980, he set up GGT, with Mike Gold and Mike Greenlees, not expecting it to last. It did, with campaigns such as Toshiba's ‘Hello Tosh’, Holsten Pils, LWT , Third World Debt and Ariston's ‘‘on-and-on-and-on’’ resulting in the firm being voted Agency Of The Year by Campaign magazine in their first year, and Most Creative Agency In the World by Advertising Age magazine of New York four years later.  
In 1990, Dave left GGT to set up Bainsfair Sharkey Trott, followed by WTCS in 1993 which, in 2011, merged with The Gate London, where Dave was Chairman until leaving in 2014. Over his career, Dave has trained generations of creative directors, many of whom are at the forefront of advertising today.

Dave Trott on GGT, “We used to work really well with brands that were in trouble. Brands that were comfortable didn’t work well for us cos all they wanted to do was kick the can a little further down the road – don’t rock the boat. But if you were in trouble, if you were losing share, losing sales, getting killed by the competition and about to get delisted […] – that’s when you call on us because we will turn it around.”