How Pete Atherton got ahead

“Every agency that I have worked for has given me more than enough rope to hang myself. Thanks to mentors that have trusted and believed in me. The downside of course is the sleepless nights. I always try to give my team the same amount of rope.”

Name: Pete Atherton

Company: inferno

Job title: Group account director

What made you want to get into advertising?

I have always enjoyed watching the ad breaks more than the programmes.

How did you get into the industry?

My first agency job came out of a drunken chat at the bar with a guest at my best mate’s wedding. Since then it’s been about working damn hard and maintaining very high standards.

What was good and bad about your first job?

Working directly for the boss. It was a high risk, high return environment – plenty of opportunities to trip up and learn at the same time.

List your jobs to date:

Free Spirit, Rapier, DLKW and now inferno.

What were the best and worst, and why?

Every agency that I have worked for has given me more than enough rope to hang myself. Thanks to mentors that have trusted and believed in me. The downside of course is the sleepless nights. I always try to give my team the same amount of rope.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

David Ogilvy – enough said.

Who in the industry do you most admire?

I never get enough time to look that far out into Soho or beyond.

What is your biggest achievement to date?

I think that’s still to come.

On what do you base your success so far?

Hard work, high standards, working closely with the right people and believing in the brands I work with.

What are your ambitions?

To be a partner in my own agency.

Change one thing about your job:

My work-life balance.

Change one thing about your industry:

The fact that agencies are seen as ‘non working dollars’ by clients. This attitude has to change, and it will.

Change one thing about the world:

Religious conflict.

What is your favourite brand?

My favourite brand to work with is Hiscox. It has a rare quality that sets it apart.

What is the next big brand in your view?

Hiscox. Give it time.

List your “media diet”:

The Sunday papers, The Daily Telegraph, the marketing press, Breakfast, More 4, Classic FM and Holy Moly.

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