Back to the Future with #TeamDTW

We all know its Back to the Future Day today. In order to celebrate the success of Doc and Marty we thought we’d go back to the future ourselves.

So we asked DTW founder Pete Whelan (the original one) to cast his mind back to the dim and distant world of 1989 when DTW came kicking and screaming into life.

You want to know how comms has changed in the past 26 years – read on.

You want to know how it will change in the next 26 years – that’s a different blog post. Watch this space.

Chris Taylor – DTW Managing Director – October 21 2015


Back to the future with DTW

In 1989….

Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web…

Mark Zuckerberg celebrated his fifth birthday…

… and DTW was founded by a bunch of enthusiastic mates who had no idea of the revolution which was about to shake the foundations of the communications world in the next 25 years.

It must be difficult for a generation brought up with the worldwide web, super-fast digital communications and mobile technology to imagine how different life was in 1989, when DTW came kicking and screeching into life.

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The first generation of slow, clunky personal computers was just becoming affordable to small businesses (we bought some, from a bloke called Alan Sugar – whatever happened to him?)

For our graphics studio, we took a punt at Apple Mac computers, the new kids on the block, as we began the transition from cut & paste and Letraset to slick digital design. I guess that’s been one certainty over the last 25 years, that Mac would continue to develop and deliver for designers.

Emails were non-existent. The important stuff came by post. The pace of life and work was a lot slower. Apart from the roads, of course – I used to drive down from Guisborough (edge of the North York Moors) to my central London clients via the sedate M1 in four hours, parking by their front doors.

In those days life for an agency was a whole lot simpler. There were just four basics for any client comms programme: PR; advertising (press or broadcast only); a new brochure (remember them) every year or two; and perhaps a “corporate video”.

Now that’s funny because video as a communications tool virtually disappeared for 20 years, then was sparked back into popularity by the emergence of YouTube and the emergence of a generation of people with an attention span of a few nanoseconds.  Déjà vu.

How did we imagine life in 2015? Well, the simple answer is we didn’t, any more than communicators now can guess what 2040 will be like. I guess we thought comms would be just like before but with more techie stuff to help…

Instead, social media in particular is changing the way the world works (and not always for the best), whilst the speed of digital is demanding instant response, bringing ever-greater pressures on communicators like us.

Did we think DTW would still be around a quarter century later? Possibly not. It’s a matter of pride to me that our agency is one of a handful which has survived and prospered through a world recession whilst adapting to the needs of the new communications landscape.

2040 here we come…

Pete Whelan (that’s the old one) – Founder and former Chief Exec

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