Jeremy Bullmore, “adland’s greatest philosopher”, has died at the age of 93.
Mark Read, the chief executive of WPP, announced his death on Twitter this afternoon.
He said: “I am very sad to share the news that our friend and colleague Jeremy Bullmore has passed away, aged 93. Jeremy died peacefully at home this week, with his family around him. We will miss him terribly. Our deepest condolences go to his family.”
Bullmore’s family have asked that anyone who would like to honour his memory make a donation to Shelter.
After joining J Walter Thompson as a copywriter in 1954, Bullmore worked at the agency for 33 years, rising to become chairman of the shop, which WPP bought in 1987.
He remained at WPP for another third of a century and he was a board director of the business, which has its headquarters in London, from 1988 to 2004. He was also a columnist and agony uncle for Campaign, Management Today and The Guardian.
From 2004, Bullmore sat on the group’s advisory board and continued to work from his office in WPP’s headquarters until the pandemic. He wrote a thoughtful essay each year in the company’s annual report — most recently in April 2021.
Campaign has previously described Bullmore as “adland’s greatest philosopher” and “quite possibly the most admired man in advertising”.
In 2022 Wunderman Thompson, the successor to JWT, created an online archive of Bullmore’s writing to celebrate his career. The History of Advertising Trust and Haymarket Media Group, the owner of Campaign, also provided content.
Caroline Marshall, the editor of Campaign from 1999 to 2004, managed the project in collaboration with Read and Chris Wade, WPP’s director of communications and corporate affairs.
In a note to WPP staff reflecting on Bullmore’s death, Read described him as “one of the most admired, loved and cherished people in our industry”.
Read continued: “No time spent with Jeremy was ever wasted. If you went to see him in his office, he would – without fail – make you think, make you laugh, and make you challenge whatever assumption you had gone in with. We will miss him terribly. Not only those who knew him personally, but his army of loyal readers who devoured every perfectly chosen word in his consistently brilliant columns, articles, speeches and essays.”
Advertising Association CEO Stephen Woodford also paid tribute to Bullmore. He said: “Jeremy Bullmore’s nearly 70 year career in advertising was like no other – his wit and wisdom lit up so many campaigns, columns, books and conferences in all that time and I am so sad to hear the news of his passing away.
“As well as his remarkable service to JWT and WPP, he always found time to support others in the UK advertising industry and we are proud at the Advertising Association that he was our chair from 1981-87. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and by the many more who will have been entertained and informed by his work.”