Obituary: Manchester's advertising doyenne Adrienne Clapham

Sarah McManus's picture
by Sarah McManus

CEM47232016_130349057573Adrienne Clapham, the doyenne of Manchester’s advertising scene during the 1980s and 90s has died, aged 70.

Having worked on some of the largest advertising accounts outside London, Clapham was well-known to many in the industry before she retired to care for husband Martin.

David Wilkinson MD of advertising and marketing company, Unitcomms knew her for about 40 years and paid tribute to her ‘larger than life character’ today.

He said: “I first met Adrienne in 1974, when we were both working at Macdonalds Advertising; Adrienne had come from the Co op and was taking over as Media Manager from Dave Byrne. After a time at Clough Howard and Richards with Malcolm Tidmas, Adrienne moved on, to Royds McCann, where she worked for a number of years, together with Sue Little, under the tutelage of George Darnell. Adrienne worked on some of the biggest advertising accounts outside of London, as a Media Group Head and earned a reputation for her no-nonsense straight talking style.

“Ian Smith of The Mail on Sunday christened her “Superstar” given the massive budgets she controlled. She was always larger than life, conducting lunchtime meetings, with the media, at The Leigh Arms in Prestbury. Adrienne was rarely without a cigarette or a bottle of vodka tucked-away somewhere, and was often fondly characterised as a Bet Lynch, lookalike, from Coronation Street.

“Looking for a new challenge she joined HQO, then Mel Harding at MAP before we worked together again at Unit Communications Group. She then had a spell with Mediability, before working on the client-side with Amplivox for several years.

"She left Amplivox to look after her husband Martin who had suffered several stokes, in August she learned of her illness and died, aged 70, on Wednesday 3 December. Adrienne had a very strong work ethic, with an amazing attention to detail, most will remember her for her beaming smile and heart of gold.”

The cremation is at Dukinfield on Monday 15 December 11.00 am.

* Were you one of the many people influenced by Clapham? Feel free to share your memories and tributes below.

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