Remembering Jeremy Bond

Jeremy Bond was a financial marketing genius, whose companies, Moorgate Marketing and latterly, FMCi, served as consultants to a wide variety of banks and insurance companies, both nationally and internationally.

Equinox Partners had the good fortune and privilege to work with Jeremy for more years than I care to recall, but we met in the early ‘90s and we collaborated as a ‘virtual agency’, sharing an office in Old Street and, thanks to the revolution in IT, remotely from our own premises in the later years.

I always said that he wrote the Words and I played the (design) Music.

Our relationship took us from the Baker Street boardroom of Abbey National where we presented the new branding for Cater Allen Private Bank, to the heights of the skyscrapers in The City for Butterfield – from Allied Irish Bank in Dublin to Abbey National Offshore in Jersey, Spain, the Emirates and Hong Kong.

This is my eulogy to Jeremy that I was honoured to present at Park Theatre, 8th May 2022.

Jeremy laughed a lot! He took great pleasure and amusement from what he created.

As Bob Townsend said : “If you are not in it for fun or profit, what are you doing it for?”

The famous Python, John Cleese, had the good fortune to interview the Dalai Lama and asked why Tibetan Buddhists laugh so much. They are constantly in fits of giggles – Cleese said that it is the most delightful thing to be around them.

Very seriously, the Dalai Lama said that laughter is helpful in teaching and political negotiations – because when people laugh, it is easier for them to admit new ideas into their minds. And laughter leads to creativity.

As we laugh, we go from the tight little circles in our minds and into more wide-ranging creative circles – and we take in new possibilities.

Jeremy’s laughter was not frivolous laughter, but the laughter of a creative genius. Laughter is a tremendously healthy thing. It creates and reinforces a feeling of relaxation and, therefore, creativity and confidence. Strong organisations are run with a sense of confidence coming from the very top. And Jeremy’s laughter was infectious.

Hard-working, driven people, such as Jeremy, have the capacity for both ‘Hare and Tortoise thinking’ (as the Buddists describe it) – the Hare having the ability to process large amounts of information and work hard – and the Tortoise, the kind of free-flowing creative thought that allows one to sleep on a problem and wake the next morning with a solution.

He was always a pleasure to work with. But that is not to say that his drive and energy couldn’t be rewardingly exhausting.

He would be constantly phoning me to see how a design job was progressing. I would laughingly complain that “He was always pulling up the daffodils to see how the bulbs were growing” – and exhorting him to “Trust me – I’m a designer!”

Our late-night sessions in the office to meet some deadline or other, would often see us answering the phone “Hello! ‘Midnight Marketing….’ “.

Jeremy had a phenomenal capacity for working creatively and comprehensively – a lovely man, a brilliant wordsmith and marketing communications genius.

An illustration of this was recalled by Malcolm Corrigan, Senior Marketing Manager of Cater Allen Offshore (Bank) in Jersey.

Malcolm recalled a particular occasion that epitomises Jeremy’s strengths.

“An Abbey Offshore Bond was due to mature. Many customers had large amounts tied up in the maturity and there was pressure to both retain their investments with the Bank – and even grow ‘the Book’.

The promotion necessitated a lot of marketing collateral – direct mail letters, a brochure, advertisements, flyers, Terms & Conditions and a range of Application Forms. Malcolm recalled Jeremy saying, quite calmly, “Is that all, is there anything else that you need?!”

Briefed late on a Thursday, by the afternoon of the following day Jeremy was straight back with literally everything!  All that was needed was to amend the date on the top of the direct mail shot – the fine detail omitted by Malcolm himself!!

Jeremy’s genius came to the fore when another client came to him with a problem.

They had a series of 3-year, 5-year and 10-year investment bonds all launched without consideration for the Maturity Dates, which in reality all coincided around the same time.

The consequences of the policyholders all cashing in their bonds – and withdrawing their money at the same time was too awful to contemplate.

Jeremy was tasked to engineer a marketing proposal to ensure that a significant proportion from these maturing bonds were ‘recycled’ – with a minimum target of money to be retained.

Jeremy’s ingenious solution of offering ‘New Bonds for Old’ netted a retention figure far in excess of the target. He was seen as a saviour of the company.

Over the years, our relationships with the Irish market – AIBBank, and particularly Ark Life its subsidiary – were one of the most rewarding and fruitful.

We always had a good laugh when we were coming up with ideas – such as Ark Life’s ‘Wake up your Money’ investment campaign.

Humorously and off-beat, his was characterised by a series of Early Morning ‘Rise & Shine’ cartoon characters – ‘Sunny’, ‘Alarm Clock’, ‘Toaster’ and ‘Radio’ – these were all aimed at invigorating the Irish savings market.  National advertising, posters, billboards and bank’s staff handing out the character badges was with notably successful. So much so, the campaign was copied by some of the Bank’s competitors.

Tony Doyle, AIB’s Director of Wealth, proposed that they create an educational booklet to be given out through the Bank’s network.

Called ‘Pensions Made Simple’, Jeremy immediately suggested one on flying to Mars and say ‘It’s not Rocket Science!’.

Tony recalls that he and Jeremy co-wrote ‘Pensions Made Simple’. Tony described his technical efforts as – ‘a mundane, uninteresting pensions workbook’ – and gave it across to Jeremy who then re-wrote, re-ordered and re-assembled it and – and as Tony said – ‘Made it come alive’.

“What a truly fantastic, gifted, talent he had!  When ten thousand copies was considered a best seller, we distributed sixty thousand copies into the Irish Market over two years – and earning an award from the Plain English Campaign.”

Jeremy was somewhat unconventional in his approach to business – he didn’t believe in performance contracts – or even fixed-rates and monthly fees.

Putting it politely, he said: “Someone always ends up dissatisfied. You are either working your socks off for a fixed monthly rate – in which case you are unhappy – or if you are not doing anything, the client is paying for you to sit on your bottom! So they are unhappy!

“If WE are any good, THEY will come back for more!”

Indeed Paul Turtle, MD of Cater Allen Bank, endorsed this approach by suggesting we were: “The first agency he haven’t wanted to sack at the end of the first year!”

Jeremy showed enthusiasm for the Game of Cricket on a daily basis, suggesting we “Knock them off in Singles” when tackling an insurmountable pile of work.

I have never been one for Cricket, not since I was smacked in the eye with a bat at the age of 8 (lots of blood and screaming) – and later sent off the pitch, described as a ‘Yob’ for throwing the ball too hard!

So when Jeremy generously invited me to the Test Match at Lords, I made my excuses, not realising at the time that the invitation had actually originated from Mr Fred Dinmore, Ark Life’s Chairman and the founder of the Cornhill Test Matches.

Jeremy was always a stickler for correct English usage. Even today, I consider his style and attention-to-detail in any writing I do.

Inserting ‘that’ in clauses that “Act as the Object of the Verb…’  ‘He knew he needed to hurry up’…  should be ….’He knew that he needed to hurry up’, is one such example.

The Bond family recalls that what was said on the News, Advertisements and Signs often drew comment.

Even a supermarket sign    ‘Exit Both Ends’.

“You CAN’T exit both ends at the same time. There is an Exit at EACH end – you may, of course, use EITHER”

Jeremy’s handwriting was minute and often indecipherable – I did get the hang of it eventually. His editorial adjustments – in ball-point pen – to my artworking would go round and round, adding and expanding.

Frequently I would have to say ‘Too many words’, so we would cut and start again.

I presented him with a very fine pointed pen to help him in his editing work, whereupon the writing became even smaller and even less legible!

A most generous and loyal associate, when we moved from the office we shared in Mitchell Street around the corner to Bath Street – it took only days for Jeremy to phone up and ask if he could come over and work with us on projects.

And there was that one time in Bath Street, shortly after our daughter Phillipa arrived, that Jeremy took a call from Abbey Offshore’s Head of Marketing, Richard Buchanan.

“Is that a baby I can hear in the background?” asked Richard.

We made our excuses…. “Not at all. It must be a crossed-line!”

And Jeremy and Vicky’s generosity was not restricted to our working lives. Clare, myself and our daughter were invited to join the Bond family for the Millennium celebrations in Tobago – a most enjoyable and delightful occasion that we recall to this day. Vicky haggling for Tuna steaks on the beach with local fishermen is one fond memory.

We would also be frequently invited to join them for a night out to indulge Jeremy’s true passion – The Theatre. Jeremy would supply tickets – and I would pay for the meal after.

I would get a phone call “Thursday Night – 7pm!”

The Donmar Warehouse was particularly popular. Always sold out, Jeremy’s Membership allowed us ‘pole position’ in the front row, if not closest to it – the most memorable production being ‘The Blue Room’.

That evening, I had Michael Parkinson to my left – and Nicole Kidman in front of me, with no clothes on about 10 feet away – ‘Pure Theatrical Viagra’ as described by Charles Spencer in The Telegraph – it was indeed quite an evening!

And then every August, Jeremy would indulge his theatrical passion for the Edinburgh Festival.

From the time that the programme was issued in May, he would plan a gruelling 5-day hike around as many of the Theatrical Fringe events that could be crammed into a 16-hour day.

I wouldn’t do it. I was happy for the break. My wife, Clare, however was very enthusiastic – and Vicky was happy that someone was keeping an eye on Jeremy!

So Clare and Jeremy would arrive at Edinburgh’s ‘Ritz Hotel’ (nothing like the London one) at midnight. The first event – a fight with the night porter who wouldn’t believe they were guests!

The following morning, 8 o’clock – and a brisk walk (and Jeremy could walk fast with his long legs) to all corners of the City with Clare trailing behind. From performances in telephone boxes and lifts, to the famous ‘Gilded Balloon’ and ‘The Pleasance’, Jeremy planned for ten performances a day. Often with them as the only audience members.

Jeremy would have done it without stopping, but Clare went on strike. Either they halted for food and drink or go their separate ways.

The compromise of Marks & Spencer sandwiches and an insulated bag became a fixture to get them through the day, with them collapsing back at the hotel after midnight to start again at 8 the following morning. Even the return to the airport would be made to include just one more event.

However, before I close, I would like to mention some colleagues who are unable to be with us today.

Paul Davenport worked with Equinox Partners as a very talented graphic designer. Paul was characteristically christened ‘LAPU’ by Jeremy because of his (lack of) spelling skills – and his failure to use spell checkers to correct this. Paul is currently working as an artist in Birmingham and successfully sells his works on-line to an adoring fanbase of Americans.

Ross Heffler was Jeremy’s colleague at FMCi for a while. Legendary for his dreadful puns and jokes, Ross sadly passed away in 2015. Playing squash at the Roehampton Club he so loved.

And our long-standing friend, Bernard Lynch.

Jeremy interviewed and recommended Bernard as Marketing Manager at Ark Life when the company was in its early days and Fred Dinmore (of Cornhill fame) was Chairman – (Bernard had previously trained as a priest at the Seminary in Rome) – and we had a long, close and happy relationship for over 25 years.

Bernard thought most highly of Jeremy’s skills & expertise in the creation of marketing materials – and especially his attention to detail – and they spoke daily.

He would, however, occasonally ask me to make a small text change and not show Jeremy – “We’ll be here forever on this. I know he will want to rewrite the whole thing!”

After his time at AIB, I was delighted when Bernard invited me to work with him at APHaslam for another five or six years. Bernard, too, sadly died suddenly in 2022 – only 60 years and a real shock all of us who knew him.

But Clare and I would never have had those opportunities, and others, without our dear friend, Jeremy – and of course, Vicky – and the rest of the Bond family.

We will always be grateful for your friendship and support over the years. Thank you.

And Jeremy’s legacy of Park Theatre – as Sir Christopher Wren and St Paul’s Cathedral:

“If ye seek his memorial, look around you!”

Thank you.


Peter Bond’s Piece on Jeremy in the Guardian:

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