Happily screening a brand new Nissan Micra car commercial, he freezes a frame to point out his own cameo role. Mr. Beattie's own favorite ad is his latest Canine Defense League outdoor work, showing a poignant pooch and the line "Toys aren't us"-emphasizing that a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.
And the sales-boosting outdoor and print series for the Playtex Wonderbra features a provocative model overflowing the push-up bra. Next to the model is the cheeky comment "Hello boys." In September, the Wonderbra will go on TV for the first time.
It still rankles Mr. Beattie that when the Wonderbra ad won a Lion at the Cannes International Advertising Festival last year, the award went to TBWA Paris' adaptation of the original London work.
"They wouldn't give it us," Mr. Beattie recalled indignantly in his Birmingham lilt.
During an interview, he avoids his own office, saying, "Lots of people are fighting in there." He wanders around the agency, mobile phone glued to his ear and long curls escaping from his ponytail.
Creatives from other agencies describe him as "controversial."
"There are too many people in our business who are afraid to speak their mind for fear of not being trendy or not being loved," Mr. Beattie said. "Creative people crave to be loved. I'm not worried about that. In the judging of creative awards, there's a lot of snobbery."
According to Mr. Beattie, TBWA, London, became a serious award winner with the Nissan Micra launch two years ago and the long-running Absolut vodka campaign, which started in the U.S. and now has European creative work.
"After that, people said, `Oh, they're cool now,'*" he said.
Print ads for the cute, compact Nissan Micra were unusual because they showed line drawings instead of pictures of the car. "It's a lovable little beast so we wanted to give it a character," Mr. Beattie said, adding that the drawings depict its personality.
Before joining TBWA in 1990 and becoming creative director in 1993, Mr. Beattie, 36, hopped at three-year intervals from now-defunct Allen Brady & Marsh to Ayer Barker to BMP. He now works with Steve Chetham, his art director partner of five years, splitting his time between writing and the creative department.
He describes his interests as "watching TV, sleeping, cricket, boxing and spending as much time as humanly possible drinking champagne with people of the opposite sex."
One unusual project he is starting with his agency's CEO Alasdair Ritchie is running a monthly page ad in a U.K. newspaper dedicated to airing public grievances.
"Advertising can address issues," he said. "If someone comes to us and says, `The trains in Britain are a [expletive] disgrace,' we'll take a full page ad and lend a voice to their gripe. I'm interested in blurring the lines between advertising and the rest of communications."