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What Do Salman Rushdie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Heller, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez & Dorothy Sayers Have in Common?

London, UK
The IPA has released a flurry of press releases detailing a spate of industry departures - LBB's Laura Swinton digs deeper...
What’s been going on in the world’s agencies? A slew of big names have been quitting under dramatic circumstances.  Falling like dominoes they are. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Heller, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Salman Rushdie, Dorothy Sayers. What could possibly be luring them away from the world of advertising?

Fitzgerald, at Barron Collier NY, is of course, best known for his ‘We keep you clean in Muscatine’ slogan and it’s rumoured that he has left to pursue his own writing… Coincidentally,  Dorothy Sayers, until recently a copywriter at S.H. Benson, is the doyenne behind the Guinness Toucan, has also expressed a desire to begin work on her first novel. And if whispers are to be believed, the same is being said of Heller, as well as others like O&M’s Salman Rushdie and the Colombian king of copy Gabriel Garcia-Marquez. 
This news comes as The Winston Fletcher Fiction Prize opens its doors to entries next month…

OK, I can’t keep it up. These household names are long gone from the ad industry – but they’re back in a deliciously clever call for entries campaign from the IPA and MullenLowe. The Winston Fletcher Fiction Prize, created in honour of the prolific writer and former IPA president, celebrates the inner novelist lurking in the heart of most advertising creative and gives them an outlet for their true passions. 

The ad industry has nurtured numerous talents who have gone on to excel in fields far removed from sloganeering for launderettes and devising mascots for stout ales. Novel writing, but also film and TV, theatre, art. Tony Kaye, Alec Guinness, Doctor Seuss, Jim Henson, er, Hugh Hefner.

The competition’s campaign is also welcome reminder of the importance of keeping a little bit of your creative energy for yourself. As deadlines shrink and the volume of work multiplies, it can seem that the demands of the job are occupying more and more of one’s mental space. 

As the thwarted writer of many an aborted first chapter it’s something I’m only two familiar with. After long days hunched over a computer writing, I’d far rather roll around with my dog than resume said hunched position for a few more hours. That’s why I’m always so in awe of those people with the will, energy and boundaries to drive their own personal projects forward. 

But you’ve got to feed your own creative longing and the client doesn’t own your soul. That’s why the coolest, most interesting people in the industry still have their ‘thing’ – Matt Eastwood’s passion for architecture, Dave Buonaguidi’s screenprinting, David Nobay’s Artbreaks films.

And that's why the Winston Fletcher Prize is such a brilliant thing. It's open to anyone working in advertising, marketing or related businesses, so what are you waiting for? Entries for the 2017 Fiction Prize are now officially open, and short stories or passages from longer novels will be accepted anywhere up to 4000 words. It is free to enter, there is a prize fund of £2000, and the closing date for entries is 31st August 2017.

To find out more, visit

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