(Image courtesy of David Rooney)
I first met Eoghan Nolan in Autumn 1991 when he joined the fledgling McCann-Erickson as a Copywriter. From our first meeting, I knew that Eoghan was a man of intellect and integrity. And opinions, lots of opinions. He also brought a work ethic aligned with a drive for excellence and demanded the same of all of us. Within three years, Eoghan was promoted to joint Creative Director with Gerry McCloskey.
We worked together in McCann for five years and very quickly became friends. Many world problems were resolved over a pint of plain in Smyth’s or a Sambal Udang in the Langkawi alongside such Industry luminaries as the late Johnny Ferguson, Una Herlihy, Brendan O’Flaherty and Mags McLoughlin (to name but a few).
After McCann Erickson, Eoghan went out on his own and formed ‘Think & Son’. In 2004, he was lured back into the traditional Agency world and became Creative Director of Irish International / BBDO. Over the next number of years, Eoghan worked with Leo Burnett as Executive Creative Director, established Brand Artillery and worked with Accenture Strategy. He lectured in Dublin and London on Copywriting and International Brand Strategy.
In 2013, Eoghan joined CopyClear and our careers realigned. We have worked together since then. Compliance in marketing communications and creative ideation do not appear likely bedfellows, yet Eoghan’s understanding of brands and communications added a rigour and a perspective that will be much missed.
Eoghan loved words. He loved music and art and theatre and coffee. He loved his family. He hated exclamation marks and lazy writing and careless typography. He had the most generous laugh. Gertrude Stein said ‘If the communication is perfect, the words have life, and that is all there is to good writing, putting down on the paper words which dance and weep and make love and fight and kiss and perform miracles.’ Eoghan’s words had life and brought joy. As did he.
Eoghan was demanding of his colleagues and of his friends. He made you want to be better, to think smarter, to challenge yourself. He was demanding of himself and of those he chose to surround himself with. In my years working with Eoghan in McCann and in CopyClear, he made his presence felt. He never chose the easy or the obvious solution. He will be very much missed by his friends and colleagues in the advertising world and by his beloved wife Niamh and his three adored children, Carver, Art and Macdara. May he rest in peace.
Lynne Tracey March 2021