Archive for Trevor Beattie

Coventry Conversations – Trevor Beattie

Posted in Film Reviews And Conversations with tags , on May 14, 2010 by Adam Broome

If you’re wondering why I’ve posted this days before a 101MC deadline… just let me explain…

I did attempt to see Jon Snow in a ‘Masterclass’ session a while back. I got up at 9am to see him at Graham Sutherland. He did not turn up. I don’t mind that so much, these things happen. But how was I to know this? Worse still, it even said the session was still on ON THE DOOR. Then, I go to another conversation, where a lecturer from another university was coming to do a talk on Marxism. No show again. I turn up with some mates I’d dragged along for the ride, and there’s just a lecturer standing there like ‘wtf mate?’. The poster’s on the door of the lecture theatre, and he hasn’t got a clue. In simple terms, if anyone reading this has any influence over these matters, sort it out people. Please. Had Trevor Beattie also done a no-show, I probably would not have had the third conversation. Just out of protest, I would actively lobby against myself going onto a podcast and writing up something, trying to pass off that I was there.


As a media-related conversation finally gets the go-ahead seemingly for the first time since Tom Hunter, I sit and watch in awe as perhaps one of the most important marketeers of the UK stands up. His appearance in not unlike Tim Burton… but without the ‘goth’. Big black bushy hair, reminiscent of Jonathan Creek (a look I myself had for a while). Tie undone at the top, white shirt and suit, but in no way smart. More like a man trying to find his way home after the last call.

To say this talk was marketed about his career in advertising, he didn’t talk all that much about it. The first slide assisting his presentation set the tone for an altogether different matter – ‘ideas’. Still relevant to media luckily, as the talk verged on ‘extremely political’ at times. Trevor asked what is ‘The Big Idea?’. Then subsequently answered it by saying there isn’t one, and that it was better to have many little ideas than one big one. He told us to worry about the little things, and emphasized how important they are. Then he challenged us to try and prove otherwise, and us students LOVE a challenge!

On the first tangent of many, he says that the invention of the wheel was a big idea. Cleverly avoiding religion, he follows up by saying the internet is also a big idea, albeit an idea made up of many smaller ones. At this point, people looked bemused. This was a surreal one – that point was clear. He then advised us to avoid the ordinary, claiming that our generation was blessed with the internet. It was quite refreshing to hear someone speak highly of our generation for once. Apparently, since this generation of students are the first wave wave of internet-users, we get first-mover advantage over all our successors. This is true. Trevor spoke of opportunity, and that we should make the most of it.

Then, on another tangent, after a few humorous slides played for laughs, Trevor brought on the idea of balance, and how a work / life balance does not exist. Unless, of course, you live your work. He also showed us a picture of Earth as a tiny dot, and said the big ideas were practically equal to the small ideas, considering how big the Earth is compared to the universe (you wish you’d turned up now, don’t you?). The surrealism and humour in the talk made this one everyone seemed to tune into. The theatre was quite involved at this point, if only to see where he was going with this stuff.

But this is when it got political, and he started talking about Murdoch supporting Cameron, and how much he hates the Tories. I do quote, during his entrance speech:

“No, but seriously I am quite ill today. Did anyone vote Lib Dems last week, just so the Tories didn’t get in? Yeah… that’s how I feel.”

He did manage to drag it back to advertising though, bringing it all together with his theory of ‘continuous advertising’. That is, his own predictions and thoughts about the advertising of tomorrow (i.e. ‘little ideas’). Continuous campaigns will be more beneficial in the future – even with things such as movies. In an example, he thought about making fictional blogs for movie characters, so that people could perhaps communicate with the characters within the films. Several examples have already occurred (e.g. Cloverfield), but I liked it nonetheless. If people could ‘talk’ to Tony Stark, perhaps it would add a little something. And, as Trevor also mentioned, perhaps it would mean less time would be needed in the film for CHARACTERISATION, so more time could be spent on the story. People would already know the characters via the blogs, before the film’s even begun. This has potential.

Regarding the internet, Trevor began to conclude by saying that the response to ideas will always outweigh the actual idea itself, but that we shouldn’t be afraid of that fact. He said phrasing was still important, and a catchy phrase will still go a long way in marketing, regardless of the internet. But with the internet, it is hard to just be a marketing person nowadays. In marketing any idea, you may also become a scientist or a political activist or a journalist, or even a producer, as Trevor himself found out first-hand. He answered a few labour-party-orientated questions, before calling it a day and inviting everyone to the pub. Good ending to a solid conversation. At under 90 minutes, it was short and sweet, to-the-point, and darkly humorous. He plans to be back again next year, and I’ll certainly be around for it.