Meet Clever Trevor, Blair's Secret Weapon; FRIDAY PROFILE TREVOR BEATTIE His 'Anti-Semitic' Ads for Labour Courted Controversy - but That Is What He Does Best
Byline: PAUL WAUGH
ACCORDING to Trevor Beattie, it is the easiest thing in the world to work out which way people vote.
"The socialists fill up the kettle after they have made their tea in the office kitchen - and the capitalists leave it empty," he says. Beattie naturally regards himself as a filler-up.
No one can say that the man behind Labour's controversial poster campaigns - including a new one launched today - doesn't know his Left from his Right.
A lifelong supporter of the party, even in the dark days of the Thatcher years, the enfant terrible of the advertising world harbours a loathing for the Tories.
The 45-year-old head of TBWA/London has made his name as one of the best creatives in the business, the driving force renowned for both the "Hello Boys" Wonderbra campaign and the French Connection "FCUK Fashion" ads.
His agency's website posters for Labour, depicting Michael Howard as a flying pig and a hypnotist, courted yet more controversy last week when some Jewish groups dubbed them anti-Semitic.
Although the images were pulled and the party's famed election-winning machine was left looking rattled, TBWA is estimated to have generated some [pounds sterling]5 million worth of publicity thanks to the row.
Beattie himself did not draft the ads, but he oversaw them, and the incident confirmed yet again his reputation as a man who lives to shock. This talent for the unconventional has made him a hot property for big business (French Connection credits its turnaround in fortunes directly to the FCUK tagline despite criticism on grounds of taste).
The son of an Irish immigrant car mechanic, he was the sixth of eight children and grew up in Balsall Heath, a working-class suburb of Birmingham.
He studied graphic design at Wolverhampton Polytechnic, before getting his break in advertising.
He moved rapidly up the industry hierarchy, dreaming up catchlines for breakfast cereals such as Weetabix, pet food ("Cats like Felix, like Felix") and liquorice allsorts ("One too many and you might turn Bertie") before achieving notoriety for the Wonderbra ads.
To his friends, he is a million miles from the archetypal sharp-suited adman. He catches the bus to work, lives in gritty east London and has more working-class cred than anyone in the Cabinet apart from John Prescott.
BUT while his upbringing may make him an oddity in the corporate world, it also gives him what every adman craves: his very own USP. The Beattie brand is a foulmouthed man-ofthepeople who kicks conventionality while earning his company millions in the process. …