Every Great Idea Needs a Peter

How to protect creative ideas
(Image source)

To overcome his opponents, Count Massimo’s special move was using his bulbous stomach as a 300lb human battering ram. And once he’d finished ruling the wrestling ring, The Count – or as he was more commonly known – Peter Grant, went on to dominate the music industry as one of the greatest managers in music.

Peter Grant was the manager of Led Zeppelin, arguably the greatest rock and roll band to ever grace a stadium. As much as he was loved by his band, Grant was feared by all who did business with him. But behind the hustler bravado lay a very bright and astute businessman who was instrumental in making Led Zeppelin the biggest band on the planet during the ‘70s.

From the very start he fiercely protected their creative autonomy, landing a five year deal with Atlantic Records and insisting on total creative control. All this without the label even hearing the band play a note. And in an era when artists received around 60% of ticket sales, Grant negotiated an unheard of 90%. He allowed the band to concentrate on their craft and took care of everything else. Making sure nothing got in the way of them and their music.

Every great idea needs a Peter. In some ways, coming up with the idea is the easy part. Getting it through the countless hurdles it has to endure before reaching the consumer unscathed – that’s the tricky bit.

Research, clients, internal staff – there are so many opportunities for an idea to go from something extraordinary to ordinary. It needs protection. Someone with the weight, wisdom and influence to sway a client.

I guarantee the Palau Pledges and Viva La Vulvas of this world all had a protector. Someone ready to step in at any given moment and have the difficult client conversations. Refusing to let the idea be chipped away to mediocrity.

My most awarded piece of work would have bitten the dust if the Account Lead hadn’t stepped in to get it back on track (cheers A).

So, when you think you’ve got a Cannes winner sold in, make sure it’s got a Peter to carry it through unscathed.

Peter getting fucked off.

Led Zep. The Ocean, Madison Square Garden ‘73.

4 thoughts on “Every Great Idea Needs a Peter

  1. It’s a good point, but it doesn’t tell the whole story … especially how Peter became his own worst enemy in the end by losing the power of objectivity. This resulted in the band making choices that not only ended up harming them, but also the industry as a whole. But those first 5 years – he changed the business for the benefit of the artists in ways no one could imagine and showed the importance of loyalty, belief and value.


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