Posts Tagged 'trevor beattie'

Ne nostra in fundamenta subeamus (Let us not climb up our own bottoms)

Ok, I’m back.

This time prompted by sheer enthusiasm, which I have promised myself is the only way I will blog in future.

I’m excited to hear that Matthew Parris is enamoured with our fair city and echos the comments made by Trevor Beattie in my interview with him the other week.

In his column for The Times, Matthew mulls over a new motto for the UK (it was mooted some time back that Gordy was looking for one). Inspiration came during his speech at Birmingham Foward’s annual dinner:

The perfect national motto. It came to me while addressing a dinner given by the Birmingham Forward association of regional businesses. Birmingham is looking great these days, and I said how much nicer it was to encounter a city where people undersold themselves, than places (but let’s leave Manchester out of this) that were up their own bottoms.

An MP and archetypal young thruster of a Government minister, Liam Byrne, had recently bewailed what he called the West Midlands’ “malaise of modesty”. Modesty a malaise! How very new Labour. A pleasantly low-key attitude to themselves is one of the great assets of West Midlanders. So I suggested a new motto for Birmingham, which the audience seemed to like.

Philip Howard, the classicist of The Times, has helped me to translate it into Latin, and the five-word motto would be splendid, in fact, for Britain itself – except that it undermines the whole Brownite constitutional project.

Ne nostra in fundamenta subeamus: “Let us not climb up our own bottoms.”

It’s true that, in many ways, Birmingham has undersold itself through modesty. Trevor Beattie suggested that if we could temporarily adopt the arrogance of the Mancunians, then we might raise our profile a bit.

But I think perhaps it isn’t arrogance we need. I think it’s confidence and a little bit of self belief.

We’ve taken the knocks because there are some idiots that insist on judging the city using anachronistic stereotypes. And, perhaps, that’s made us play safe on some issues.

Yet, in my experience, Birmingham has masses of talent, passion and creativity. Perhaps we just need to be a little braver and give less of a stuff what everyone else thinks.

With a bit of self belief we could use our modesty to our advantage. After all, being great isn’t about shouting the loudest, it’s about doing things better than everyone else!

From (the rather appropriately named) upyerbrum

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Answers: Trevor Beattie

Well! That was a treat!

The title of Trevor’s talk for the evening as “What is the Big Idea?”. His answer? In advertising there is no big idea, just lots of little ideas that can contribute to a big idea.

It was a talk full of laughs and interesting takes on the advertising industry. It felt like a collection of some of his favourite pictures and videos that he had put together into a presentation while on the train up from London (which he claimed it was).

I’d been warned that he might be a difficult person to interview, but he was warm, lively, open and unprententious. I suppose it wouldn’t be hard to imagine a fiery Irish temper under it all somewhere, but I saw none of it.

I’ve got to save the bulk of what he said for a article for The Post next week. But Stef (who seems to be in a pre-emptive mood) has posted a summary of the answer to his question here and below are answers to the other questions.

But first, a special mention for Jon Bounds and Birmingham: It’s Not Shit, which – unprompted – Trevor bought up during the interview.

He got introduced to the site by another guy from Birmingham who works at his agency BMB and he thinks it’s a great site! He knows all about why it was set up (failed Capital of Culture bid which Trevor worked on). He is a regular reader and a very proud Brummie.

Bounder’s Answer:

“Of course you can advertise a city, don’t be daft. That’s a silly thing to say. Next question!

“But seriously, you can, but its not up to me to do it – it’s up to everyone and we have to be more arrogant about Birmingham. I can keep shouting the message, but everyone else needs to be doing it too.”

Prem1um’s Answer: I’m afraid I got your question a bit mixed up and asked for the first four, which were: balti, race, humour and Balsall Heath (where he was born).

“I am very proud of Balsall Heath – 56 Brighton Road was where I grew up. Everyone in my business knows where I come from.

“All these cities that talk about multiculturalism. Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool – they’re not multicultural. London is now, but Birmingham invented it.

“When I was growing up in Balsall Heath in the 1970s it was just the way it was. On my road there was my family of Irish Brummies, then next door there was Halal butcher Brummie, across the road there were Jamaican Brummies and a bit further down there was some Pakistani Brummies. That’s how I grew up.”

Any Qs: Trevor Beattie

Trevor Beattie[Answers are here]

Date: Friday, November 9

I am resisting the temptation to add FCUK to a sentence for a cheap smirk.

So, sticking with the unadorned facts, Trevor Beattie is back in his home town on Friday.

The controversial advertising “guru” known for the above French Connection slogan and Wonderbra’s unforgettable “Hello Boys”, will be speak at The Orange Studio on Friday for an event organised by PACE (Publicity Association of Central England).

Tickets cost £40, but if you’re feeling a bit light of pocket then I’m very happy to quiz him on your behalf.

Of course, now I’m running with a theme, I think it would be fun to ask what he thinks of Birmingham’s advertising strategy. What should the city do to pack a punch at home and abroad?

PACE mention he is also booked to go on one of Virgin Galactic’s space flights.


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