How Phil Bourne Got Ahead

“The advertising industry still suffers from a reputation for being self-indulgent and pretentious, which I do think is at least partly justified.”

Name: Phil Bourne


Company: Euro RSCG KLP


Job title: CEO


What made you want to get into brands/advertising/media/marketing?

It would have been something very enlightened, like the possibility of not having to wear a suit to work every day.


How did you get into the industry (including relevant qualifications and professional training)?

I got my first job through a DM campaign that I produced and mailed to lots of agencies. I went to a very good art college (LCP) and, though I never had serious aspirations, or talent, to be a creative, when I left I knew a fair bit about marketing communications and client briefs and the creative process and repro, etc. I thought it would make me a more valuable asset to a prospective agency than someone with an Oxbridge degree in politics and philosophy. 


What was good and bad about your first job?

They valued my youthful exuberance. They indulged it.


List your jobs to date:

Account Exec at Interactive Advertising.

Account Director at BGA, design and brand consultancy.

Various positions at KLP.


What were the best and worst, and why?

They’ve all been good (apart from when the first one went bust). I learnt about advertising at the first one, brands and business at the second one, and hopefully management in this one.


Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My old boss Tim Greenhill and my brother Tim Bourne.


Who in the industry do you most admire?

I’m not a big industry watcher, but I did read a book about Maurice and Charles Saatchi when I started out which was inspiring.  


What is your biggest achievement to date?

I work for a very good agency and I have evidently made some contribution towards its successes.


On what do you base your success so far?

I think I’m a pretty good critic and a constructive editor. I think I have an intuitive sense of what’s wrong with something and what could make it better.


What are your ambitions?

Happy and rewarding lives for the saucepans.  Plenty of laughs for my wife and I.


Change one thing about your job:

There’s not too much wrong with my job – the bloke doing it is another matter.


Change one thing about your industry:

The advertising industry still suffers from a reputation for being self-indulgent and pretentious, which I do think is at least partly justified.


Change one thing about the world:

Tony Blair’s big brother-esque nanny state. It is assumed that we’re all idiots or criminals. 


What is your favourite brand?

BMW. It is said the most important thing that an agency can gain from its clients is learning (revenue must come a very close second!).  I consider myself very fortunate to have worked closely with BMW in my career.


What is the next big brand in your view?

The LA Galaxy. It’s not an appealing prospect, but America will get seriously good at football one day.


List your “media diet”:

The Independent media section on Monday, Marketing Week obviously, and various nuggets that my PA kindly picks out for me.


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