IPA mourns Jeremy Bullmore CBE

Adland’s greatest philosopher

Everyone at the IPA was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of industry great Jeremy Bullmore CBE at the age of 93.

Jeremy started his career at J. Walter Thompson London as a copywriter in 1954, left as agency chairman in 1987, then worked within WPP for another 33 years. In his many external roles he has been a tireless champion and advocate for the industry. These included chairman of the Advertising Association, president of The Thirty Club, non-executive director of Guardian Media Group, president of NABS and president of the Market Research Society. He was awarded the CBE in 1985.

Jeremy was named as one of the industry’s 100 ‘game changers’ at the IPA 100 year Festival of Advertising in 2017. As a regular speaker at IPA events, his philosophies have influenced the advertising industry over many years and his work continues to be quoted in essays for IPA qualifications to this day. WPP recently launched an archive of Jeremy’s work, the Best of Bullmore.

Tributes to Jeremy:

Paul Bainsfair, Director General, IPA:

"There is so much that one could say about Jeremy, especially given his long and fruitful relationship with the IPA. The thing that always springs to mind, however, is a memo he sent in 1965 to JWT’s TV Producers. It recommends a young BBC Designer who is starting out as a Director and whom he believes they should work with – Ridley Scott. I love it because it shows that alongside his wisdom and all his great insights about advertising he was also great at spotting creative excellence."

Hamish Pringle, Director General, IPA, 2001-11:

"In 1974 J. Walter Thompson released ‘What is a brand?’ It’s a filmed conversation between Stephen King and Jeremy Bullmore, ‘with illustrations’. It crystallised the importance of brands, and confirmed the key role of agencies in creating them. I believe it’s an IPA responsibility to preserve and promote the wisdom of agency legends. So in the mid-2000s I asked Jeremy if he could organise for me to see his film again. But this time in the company of its two protagonists. Jeremy brought the video, plus Stephen King. We viewed it together in Room 1, then had lunch. It was wonderful to hear them re-making arguments they’d first articulated decades earlier. And to realise how right they’d been about brands, and still were. They did admit they hadn’t foreseen the internet, but I took that as the exception to prove their rules. Jeremy’s legacy is inspiring – watch how it started and see where it is now."

Louise Hinchliffe, Director of Professional Development, IPA:

"Throughout my career in the industry, initially in the Account Management department at what was J Walter Thompson and now in the Professional Development team at the IPA, I have been in awe of Jeremy Bullmore’s extraordinary passion for and understanding of advertising. We will continue to use his inspirational essays – such as ‘Posh Spice & Persil’ and ‘Advertising. What is it? What is it for?’ – in our IPA learning for decades to come, such is their timeless intelligence and insight, charm and wit. Jeremy will be greatly missed, but his legacy will live on."

For more tributes to Jeremy read the thoughts of Amelia Torode and Caroline Marshall.

Last updated 01 May 2024