Published Thursday, November 5, 2015

Jeff Upward

Jeff was an immensely well-known and hugely popular figure within both the international advertising community and the UK market.

I first came across Jeff, as many colleagues did, in the early eighties when he founded Upward and Short in a small basement office in Covent Garden. It was a gamble at the time, but he had great foresight and had identified the latent potential that was offered by fledgling media independents who broke away from established full service agencies. From there, via various posts and agencies, he gravitated towards more international clients and was taken on by Total Media where his vast experience, knowledge and proficiency were put to good use.


What I remember so clearly about Jeff and what marked him out from the herd was his friendship, professionalism and abiding loyalty. The advertising industry has far too many individuals who think the way to the top is by trampling on colleagues, doing deals that are to the detriment of media owners and having a huge ego. Jeff was the absolute opposite. Considerate, sincere, empathetic, unaffected and ever ready to acknowledge another point of view. He always had time to impart his wisdom to fellow workers and it was done with passion and great enthusiasm.


For Jeff, advertising was not just about numbers and discounts (important though they are), no, for him advertising was about relationships. He recognised that a long, mutually beneficial relationship would, like a well-tended tree, bear fruit for many year to come. That is not to say that he was an easy negotiator. I remember fondly many “discussions” we had prior to a deal being struck where Jeff’s logic and data would trump my enthusiasm!  This approach led him to form numerous long standing friendships with a broad spectrum of people. Many of us were lucky enough to enjoy a day out at the cricket with him where day to day advertising was forgotten and replaced by the layers and strands of friendship.


Jeff loved media and advertising in all its forms. His kindness, skill, helpfulness, humour and generosity are all traits that many media aspirants would do well to emulate. He was a huge supporter of OPMA and was always a face I would look for at events to catch up with. He will in every sense be very much missed. Our condolences go out to his family.

 Alex McKibbin

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