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Scottish industry shocked at sudden death of Kenny Harris

The Drum has learned that one of Scotland’s best known and most popular marketing industry personalities Kenny Harris has sadly died after a sudden illness aged 53.

Kenny launched sales promotion agency The Marketing Store into Scotland during the Nineties, before going on to launch his own successful creative thinking consultancy HeadSurf in 2001.

It is understood that Kenny took ill suddenly on Tuesday with a suspected brain haemorrhage and never regained consciousness before sadly passing away on Wednesday.

Originally trained as a lawyer, Kenny worked for more than 15 years in advertising agencies in Scotland, including stints Castle Sales Promotions, MacDougalls Advertising and MCann Erickson. He was also a renowned stand-up comedian, performing in comedy clubs across the UK and also at ten consecutive Edinburgh Fringe Festivals.

He was also a huge supporter of The Marketing Society in Scotland and regularly hosted its St Andrew’s Day debates and contributed to many of its events and seminars.

His real passion however was creativity and after studying how creative people generate ideas he went on to bring these techniques together by launching HeadSurf.

Speaking about Kenny, Graeme Atha of The Marketing Society in Scotland said: “On Wednesday this week we lost one of the great characters in our business. Kenny was a big personality and a thoroughly decent person much loved by many. He was also a respected marketer. Although his degree from the University of Glasgow was in law – his true call was in marketing communications.

"He worked with a variety of agencies over the years before going out on his own with Headsurf his creative training consultancy. Many of his skills as a communicator were honed as a stand up comedian and he regularly performed at the Edinburgh Fringe.

"Over recent years he organised a series of debates for the Marketing Society. He loved to be involved either as speaker or chair and was passionate about debating skills being an important skill for marketers. It was also a great platform for his razor sharp wit and bright mind. This year at the Edinburgh International Marketing Festival Kenny was planning to host a game show format and was very excited about it. As Kenny would want – the show goes on – and we will ensure we use this occasion as a fitting tribute to a great man."

Kenny leaves behind wife Diane and two children, Alex and Ellen.

Funeral details will follow.

Richard Draycott

I head up MiNetwork which is a UK-wide organisation that works closely with the owners and directors of independently owner managed marketing services agencies to ensure that they receive maximum exposure to build their personal and business profiles, have access to a broad network of like-minded marketing business owners willing to share knowledge and experience and ultimately build more transferable value in their business, through improved efficiencies and business development opportunities.

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