Ken Gosling Remembered

By The Drum, Administrator

September 27, 2004 | 6 min read

The Manchester advertising community has been left a poorer place following the untimely passing of Ken Gosling. Ken, the managing director of Radford Advertising, was a well known, respected, erudite and incredibly warm individual, somebody who immediately inspired loyalty, friendship and affection.

Ken started his marketing career, following a brief flirtation with the family fresh fish, fruit and veg business, on the client side of the fence. He worked first for Harvey’s of Bristol, before moving on to the brewery Wilson’s, which in turn was to become Watney’s.

Although Ken undoubtedly relished his roles in the drinks industry, when his agency at the time, BDH, offered him a new challenge the pull of the marketing services world proved irresistible. It was an attraction he was never to shake off.

BDH eventually led to Saatchi & Saatchi, and Saatchi & Saatchi led him to Phil Atkinson. Together with his new creative partner, Ken set up Craig Advertising, before merging their business with Radford Advertising in 1994. Cue ten years of happy history – happy staff, happy clients and a very happy accountant.

Ken’s contribution to the advertising fraternity was as unique as he was. As you’ll read below, he truly was “one of the good guys”. One of the first you’d scan a room for, one of the last you’d ever hear anyone speak ill of. As noted, the community is definitely poorer for his passing, but it’s much richer for having him in the first place.

I usually follow the old cliché of not mixing business and pleasure. With Ken I am so glad I ignored the rule. I first met Ken 20 years ago when we both had new roles. His help with our marketing problems helped the company and me to progress my career. His biggest contribution on the business front came 10 years ago, with the launch of Privilege Insurance. He shared our vision and the amount and quality of work produced helped to make Privilege Britain’s fastest growing insurance company. Ken had a great mind and could always make what appeared to be complex problems simple and get to the heart of the matter.

But it is as a friend that I will remember him. Maureen and I had truly fantastic times with Ken and Gillian and a million memories to treasure. Whenever I felt miserable, an evening with Ken would soon sort me out – he was a free personal therapist. It was impossible not to wear a smile when he was around. God bless you, Ken.

Jim Wallace, Direct Line

We first met in 1982. Ken was an account manager with our advertising agency. He was one of those people who, after a couple of minutes, you felt you had known for ever, and over twenty years later is for ever.

Ken was at once a visionary and a realist and if you think that description is contradictory then you didn’t know Ken. He could mix his own special brand of straight talk with deep insight and humour, then cut to the bottom line and present the obvious as innovation. Which, of course, in our crazy advertising world, it usually is.

That was his speciality: smart, straightforward but very sophisticated, and I have learned from him. And it was always such fun, which is as it should be. In our relationship I was the client and he was the ad man, but I will always remember Ken as my friend.

Mike Dinsdale, Brother UK Ltd

Most will remember Ken for his decency, kindness and loyalty. He inspired, motivated and charmed those around him. Few could resist his self-deprecating good humour. He understood that laughter at one’s own expense is the warmest kind. He was at one with nature, yet proud of his own achievements. His unquestionable passion for advertising paled only when compared with his love of family. I count myself truly fortunate to have been his friend. Oh, how I now wish I had spent more time in the company of Andrew Kenneth Gosling.

Roy Woodward

There is not much left to say that I have not already said or thought, or that wouldn’t be reiterating the words of others.

However, Ken, especially in later life, was a realist who worked out the priorities in life.

With that in mind, I wondered which of all the things Ken taught me, in life and work, was the most important and most useful.

After much soul-searching and deliberation, I came to the conclusion that the lesson in “boning the perfect Dover Sole” will probably stay with me for longer than any other and, as Ken would say, “Practice invariably makes perfect!”

Phil Atkinson, Radford Advertising

Ken literally taught me everything I know about this business. All of us at Radford – his “second family” – will miss his warmth, wisdom, wit and enthusiasm. “A busy day is a happy day,” he would quip, as he left for the pub. Remembered with affection always.

Catherine Warrington, Radford Advertising

Ken gave me the opportunity to work from home, following a heart attack, which I feel added prime time to my life and I will always be grateful to him for that. I was also one of the people he introduced to the delights of bird watching and I have the books to prove it!

Vera Wilson, Radford Advertising

I first met Ken at a First Friday function many years ago. He was one of those rare breed of people who made you feel comfortable within his company, an intelligent, kind man who always had time for other people and made you feel as though you had known him for many years.

I was lucky enough to have served on the First Friday Committee with Ken and through this we became good friends, with a great deal of respect for each other.

Ken served as both secretary and chairman for the First Friday Club. Unfortunately, due to various problems within the club, the role of chairman was a difficult one, but Ken steered skilfully and successfully throughout his twelve months’ reign.

He was very passionate about many aspects of his life that gave him pleasure, and the First Friday Club was one of those pleasures.

Ken was a great man, well liked for his passion, enthusiasm and dedication by those who knew him. The First Friday Club committee, its members and I will miss him greatly.

Graeme N. Wood, First Friday Club


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