It feels, to me at least, that the British Arrows are part of the fabric of this business, part of the history — but it’s obviously vital that we remain the most prestigious of all the UK awards — and as this business is going through what feels like an industrial revolution and changing as rapidly as it is, it’s vital that we change with it.
Like many in advertising Charlie came into the business by mistake. He was always supposed to be a rock star, but with his hair far bigger than any of his band’s record sales, he became a motorcycle messenger, thinking that that might at least allow him to race motorbikes and perhaps become the next Barry Sheene. With no natural sense of direction, it was a job he was so bad at that he ended up dropping vital artwork into Liberty’s, convinced by his human compass that it was the glamorous reception to the flamboyant ad agency, Allen Brady & Marsh. His inability to deliver anything on time, or even to the right postcode meant he didn’t last long, but one of the ad agencies he could find, offered him a job because they thought he was someone else who’d actually been to art school and knew what they were doing.
More to avoid an impending addiction to spray mount and magic marker fumes, than any deep affinity with film, he moved to a commercials production company as a runner. Working his way up the ladder, purely coincidentally closing down every company he set foot in on the way, he was eventually offered the job - that he later found had been rejected by every other person in London - producing for an insane director at MPC. Amazingly MPC still exists today but so keen were they to get shot of Charlie that they introduced him to David van der Gaag, offered them Rogue and suggested they left immediately.
18 years later, Rogue has become one of the most well respected and unique boutique production companies with a select group of directors, none of whom are insane, and have won Academy Awards, BAFTAs, Grammy’s, MVA’s, Cannes Lions, D&AD’s, Creative Circle awards – and, of course, British Arrows. Charlie has been a major part of the group that started the Fireflies, cycling with 6 others from Geneva down to Cannes Ad Festival in 2001 and several times since, being taunted by marmots as they climb the biggest mountains in Europe. Fireflies have since raised millions of pounds (and dollars) for Cancer Research and treatment in the last 15 years and have spawned the hugely successful Fireflies West, now in its 8th year (riding from San Francisco to LA) and Fireflies Antipodes, in New Zealand.
Charlie loves anything which allows him to buy more kit, so when he’s not riding bikes, he’s riding motorbikes and when he’s not doing that he’s running, rowing, playing guitar, bashing a piano, skiing, snowboarding or attempting to look like he can kitesurf. He lives by the river in Putney, West London in what was a house but is now more of an extreme sports & musical equipment storage space.
Like Tom Cruise, he’s much smaller in real life. Like Ronnie Corbett, all his stories are much longer than they need to be and are only loosely based on the truth.