Robert ‘Bobby’ Norris, art director, darts player, sharp dresser and Ogilvy & Mather London stalwart for 58 years has passed away at the age of 77.
The year Bobby Norris first walked through the doors of Mather & Crowther, Elvis Presley had his first UK hit with Heartbreak Hotel and the average house price was £2000. Over the next couple of decades, he worked alongside many of the greats, from David Ogilvy to Stanhope Shelton, although it has to be said, the myths and truths surrounding his career have become somewhat blurred. Bobby did like to tell a story. And whether he was actually teamed with writer Fay Weldon, and contributed to the famous ‘Go to work on an egg’ slogan, can neither be confirmed nor denied.
But Bobby’s talent, not just for creating ideas, but for creating with his hands, was obvious. The man was an alchemist. Give him the raw materials – paper, card, glue, metal, and Bobby could make pretty much anything. He fashioned desks out of paper, sailing ships out of wood, flowers out of steel and even built an Eiffel Tower out of used shop receipts. However as time went on, the industry changed and in the age of Photoshop, Flash and 3D effects, his
skill set became something that belonged to a bygone era – but all the more precious for it. So he continued to work. Week in and week out he could be seen at his desk, hunched over his latest project with a scalpel in his mouth and glue on his fingertips. And when he wasn’t building something for one of the accounts, he was mending somebody’s shoes, fixing a radio or buying mountains of cakes and biscuits for everyone in the office.
That’s how most of us will remember him. We were his family and he was ours. And lovably cantankerous to the last, the grumpy old boot will be massively missed by us all. His generosity was boundless, his heart the size of three lions and he’s left a bloody great Bobby Norris-shaped hole in the Ogilvy & Mather London offices.
So long old chap, it was an honour and a pleasure.