Mike Dyble obituary

Other lives: Marketing executive who worked on Manchester’s Olympic bids in 1996 and 2000, and helped secure the Commonwealth Games in 2002

If you watched any television in the last 50 years, you probably saw an advert made by my grandpa, Mike Dyble, who has died after a sudden brain haemorrhage, aged 84. You probably still remember it too. Perhaps it was the Hippo and Duck double act for Silentnight; or perhaps the Solvite stuntman, soaring across Miami beneath a helicopter, held in place only by the power of Solvite wallpaper paste. Mike had a knack for ideas that stuck.

He was born in Garston, Liverpool, the son of Bertram Dyble and Mabel (nee Owens), local newsagents. As a child, he spent his evenings reading comics taken from the shop, though he had to return them in pristine condition for sale the next day. Perhaps it was there that he developed his signature talents: frugality and entrepreneurship, combined with a strong visual imagination, and a flair for audacious, even zany narratives.

An advertisement for Silentnight beds devised by Mike Dyble; as marketing director, he went on to help secure the 2002 Commonwealth Games for Manchester.
An advertisement for Silentnight beds devised by Mike Dyble; as marketing director, he went on to help secure the 2002 Commonwealth Games for Manchester. Photograph: Retro AdArchives/Alamy

Mike met Pauline Davies at a scout dance, and they married in 1961. After studying art at Liverpool College, he found his calling in the world of 1960s advertising, in Manchester, his home for the next 60 years. Alongside Ken Bowden, Geoff Hayes and Win Higenbottam, he founded the marketing company BDH in 1964. The company was soon on the rise, with a series of breakthrough ads in the new medium of television. By the 80s, it was the UK’s biggest regional agency, employing more than 200 staff.

The quartet sold the business in 1988, but more ambitious projects were to come when Mike became international marketing director for the 1996 and 2000 Manchester Olympic bids. Although these were ultimately unsuccessful, he helped secure the Commonwealth Games in 2002. The lasting legacy was Manchester’s changing image on a global stage – the ultimate rebranding – as the city emerged from the grey haze of industrial decline newly self-confident.

In his later years, Mike continued to live up to his reputation as “the nicest workaholic you’ll ever meet”, to quote his longtime colleague Pat Cadwallader. He worked tirelessly for numerous charities, including Manchester City Art Gallery, Bauer Media’s Cash for Kids, Gaddum, Manchester Settlement, and the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.

He continued to enjoy tennis, skiing, and playing football with his grandchildren well into his 80s. He is survived by Pauline, their four children, Mark, Amanda, Jacqueline, and Nigel, and eight grandchildren.

Jake Dyble

The GuardianTramp

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