By Angela Haggerty, Reporter

February 26, 2013 | 5 min read

In the next instalment of our series gathering advertising industry job tips with twistorstick, The Drum meets Peter Souter, chairman and chief creative officer at TBWA

Interview by Marc ShelkinThe road to the high heights of the London advertising job industry doesn't have to be conventional, as Peter Souter, chairman and chief creative officer at TBWA can testify.Souter attended his interview for St Martin's School of Art wearing his pyjamas to mask the small problem of not having much work to show, and his first attempt at breaking into the agency he aspired to work at, AMV, involved standing outside the owner's house holding a sign.It's not exactly a common approach, but it was a reflection of Souter's passion for the creative advertising industry, and he is where he wants to be - he spent almost 20 years at AMV before taking time out to pursue screenwriting projects, and he now works at an agency with an Apple account, something which clearly inspires him."I came here because they do Apple and it's the best company in the world, although we have a very special set that does Apple," says Souter. "It's very secretive and I'm not really allowed to play in there, but I still love being near something that Steve Jobs touched. Apple's the greatest brand I've been allowed to be vaguely near. It's the greatest brand in the world, the greatest brand of all time."There's a separate building and you have to have a fingerprint and eye recognition to get in there. When I had my eyes lasered I couldn't get in anymore, so I'm not allowed anywhere near it, but I'm going to find a way," he laughs.Souter was pursuing a graphic design job discipline during his studies when he changed direction towards copywriting after taking a tutor's advice. His ambition was to work for Abbott Mead Vickers after a placement at the company. Taking inspiration from the Volvo ad's 'Cambridge - Volvo preferred' strapline, Souter stood outside David Abbott's house as he left for work with a 'AMV - Volvo preferred' sign. It was enough for Abbott to take him into the office, but it wasn't enough to secure the job in advertising he was looking for."I got my first job at an agency called Delaney Fletcher Delaney, as a junior writer, basic tea boy," he says. "What I'd recommend to anybody is take any job you can get. I recommend being good at a less good place rather than being the worst at a good place."I did a lot of work with the wonderful Richard Curtis, who's a complete hero, he's a brilliant screenwriter and his little adage, which I try to live by, is if you want to make things happen you have to make things. If in doubt, do something, if in doubt, make something, because there's too much chat. Everybody chats instead of doing stuff."Advertising jobs at Woollams Moira Gaskin O'Malley and Wight Collins Rutherford Scott beckoned before Souter finally landed a junior copywriter job at AMV. He moved up the ladder over almost 20 years to become creative director, before leaving in 2008 to pursue other projects, which included writing ITV series Married Single Other. However, working in the advertising industry never stayed far from his mind, and he returned in August 2012 to take up his role at TBWA."I really like the people," says Souter. "I really missed being around funny, inventive, odd people, and that's what good agencies are full of."Among his career highlights are penning Sainbury's 'try something new today' ads and commercials for Walkers crisps. As executive creative director at AMV BBDO, he oversaw the famous Guinness surfer ad, as well as the Dulux plasticine men ads.To round the interview off, Souter answered a few quick fire questions.Cannes Lions or D&AD Pencil?D&ADOlympic gold medal or an Oscar?OscarThe brightest person you've worked with?Richard CurtisThe best looking person you've worked with?I did a commercial with Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista. Cindy much nicer, Evangelista was a horrible woman. Cindy's so beautifulCreatives or suits?CreativesMoney or happiness?HappinessApple or Android?AppleTea or coffee?TeaFootball or rugby?FootballFacebook or Twitter?FacebookAnt or Dec?I like Dec, the smaller oneThe Simpsons or Family Guy?SimpsonsDegree or no degree?No degreeArt directors or copywriters?I'd say art directors actuallyWeb or mobile?I would say mobileIndependent agencies or networked agencies?Networks, lifelong networkerOutsourced production or onsite production?I think outsourced still because I like people who are independentDon Draper or Roger Sterling?Don DraperAnd lastly, twist or stick?Always twist

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