As Jellybean celebrates its 30th year in business, I take a moment to reflect on the year of 1987 when it all started in a small office for 2 in Croydon.
At that time the average price of a house in the UK was £44,000, a gallon of petrol cost £1.89, inflation was running at 4.2% and interest rates were at 8.4% and within this economic scenario Margaret Thatcher was re-elected Prime Minister for the third time. Little did I know (or anyone else for that matter) that we were just a spit away from a serious recession which I am pleased to say we survived.
The Docklands airport (now known as City) opened for business, British Airways and British Caledonian merged in order to compete with the bigger US airlines and work started on the Channel Tunnel to link England with France. Improved accessibility and transport for business and leisure was starting to take centre stage.
There were 3 horrendous and life-changing tragedies that year, a UK based cross-channel ferry capsized outside the harbour off Zeebrugge, Belgium killing 193 passengers, a fire at King’s Cross underground Station killed 31 people and Michael Ryan ran amok in Hungerford killing 16 locals with an assault rifle before committing suicide. As happens now the shock of such tragedies fired the true spirit of the British people who rallied to help those in need and worked together to learn lessons to prevent a repeat disaster.
Interesting weather times too when a Hurricane hit much of the South of England killing 23 people and causing devastation to woodland, houses and roads. Weather forecasters have never been so blasé since in their predictions.
On a cheerier note the CEO of Disney and the PM of France made a deal to create a European Disney-themed resort of 4,800 acres in Marne-la-Vallée near Paris, later to be known as Disneyland Paris, the theme park finally opened in 1992.
Records were broken too as Britain’s Inter-City 125 high-speed train set a world record for the fastest diesel-powered train, Clive Sinclair (later to become Sir) launched the first portable computer weighing under 2lbs, the first criminal was convicted using DNA and on a more mundane level disposable contact lenses became available for commercial distribution. It was the latter that changed my life most notably.
Popular and ground-breaking films that year were Fatal Attraction, The Untouchables (in my top 10 of all time), Lethal Weapon and Dirty Dancing.
And those who participated in our 30th Celebration Spotify playlist know it was an extraordinarily good year for music, featuring Michael Jackson (RIP) with his ” BAD ” Album, Fleetwood Mac “Tango in the Night”, Whitney Houston (RIP) “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”, George Michael (RIP)” Faith ” , Los Lobos “”La Bamba” Single and U2 “The Joshua Tree”.
There was also the rather aptly titled album by Bryan Adams “Into the Fire” which was a highly appropriate soundtrack as I set up my electric typewriter (yes there was no such thing as a PC), fax machine (no internet either) and pondered on my decision to leave a perfectly well paid secure job I loved to set up a dedicated foodservice agency specialising in an industry in which I had worked as a client/agency for over 10 years.
Why did I do it? Some might say I was slightly unhinged, mad, maverick others would say brave, committed and determined. Maybe it was a combination of all of the above but there was no doubt in my mind that there was a need for an agency to specialise in this wonderful industry providing strategic advice based on a real in-depth knowledge of the market and equally able to activate effective and creative campaigns to drive brands into this lucrative market.
Some things have changed radically over the past 30 years but one thing that hasn’t is that the team at Jellybean continue to be immersed in food and drink and to provide outstanding award-winning ideas to our clients to drive their business forward. I could not be prouder of our achievements over the past 30 years and our continued dedication to being one of the best food & drink agencies in the UK and the one that clients trust and love working with.
30 years on, I celebrate my good fortune and I salute my fantastic team.