A creative director for the real world. Founder and Creative Partner of isobel Executive Creative Director of FCB London Creative Director of Banks Hoggins O’Shea. 300+ new business pitches. From Weetabix (won) and nPower (won) to Wembley Stadium (won) and Stannah Stairlifts (laughed out of the room). Awarded at D&AD, The One Show, Cannes, Eurobest, Creative Circle and Campaign Awards. A judge at D&AD, D&AD New Blood, Creative Circle, Campaign Press. A former Creative Circle council member. A contributor to Campaign, campaignlive, Marketing, Marketing Week and British Airways High Life. I have run a department of 28. And of 2 (which included me). I’ve been on the board of a network agency. And on the board of my own agency. I have pitched from Copenhagen, Bordeaux, Hong Kong, Budapest and Munich to Bridlington. Some to 150 people or more, others to just one. I am a copywriter at heart. A strong believer professional stupidity and of all that flows from it. Committed to the unfair business advantage that creativity can give. But I am also realist. I know the value of money. And what it means to small businesses in particular. I have always considered myself answerable to the client. I make a point of working with them, rather than against them. I have created work in countless sectors: From financial, retail, travel, alcohol and automotive to food, furniture, gaming and recruitment. Which was for the SAS. (But obviously I can’t talk about that.)Locked Pro Plan feature
isobel is a thriving and vibrant independent advertising agency, I founded jointly with three partners in September 2003. From launch to 2006 it was rated as one of the UK’s fastest growing agencies in the UK. The first client, Wembley Stadium, was won just 13 days after opening. Cash-flow positive within 3 months it went on to work with nPower, Denby Pottery, Harrods, Club Wembley, The Natural History Museum, Bullring Birmingham, Midland Mainline, ILVA, Hammerson, CIVB Bordeaux Wines, Danepak Bacon, Kettle Chips, National Express, Bendicks, Werther’s Originals, Werther’s Original, Maoam and Kelly’s of Cornwall among many, many others. Today it is an agency with a enviable record of working closely with clients with loyalty, courtesy and quiet but fierce determination. One point of particular pride; Our second client, Bullring Birmingham, is still with the agency 16 years and 4 management changes later. More importantly it has grown into the major, multinational shopping centre client Hammerson.
FCB London was the ultimate incarnation of the sale of Banks Hoggins O’Shea to FCB Worldwide. Now a fully merged network agency, my role was improve the standard of creative work, bringing creative recognition to the agency and win new business to assist with the earn out. As a wholly owned network agency, I was Joint Creative Director of the UK department producing work of a consistently immaculate standard and pitching all over the UK and Europe, often working with network agencies in the process. Highlight: We were invited to pitch for Alpen, a modest £3m brand, and instead chose to pitch for the entire £26m portfolio of Weetabix brands, including Weetabix, Ready Brek and Alpen. We won. And it was the single largest win in the London agency’s history.
Promoted to Joint Creative Director following the buyout of Banks Hoggins O’Shea by FCB and took charge of the day-to-day running of the creative department. Clearly, an agency in an earn-out has a particular pressure on costs, one that I understood fully. Nevertheless, we produced award winning work on a variety of clients including Amtico, Coors Brewing Company, Clairol, The Referendum Party, Compaq, Waitrose, Alpen, Ready Brek, Weetabix, Ferrero, Bahamas Tourist Board, Indian Tourist Board, Sara Lee and Castrol.
Working under legendary Creative Directors Chris O’Shea and Kent Hoggins was the opportunity of a lifetime to learn from two of the UK’s most celebrated and awarded Creative leaders. They taught me how to think strategically, both for the creative work and the client generally. They taught me how to work with clients (rather than against them), to present work effectively, to absorb both client feedback and criticism, and to drive standards up little by little by encouraging creative teams’ own confidence. I was given the room to not just make my own mistakes, but crucially, to answer to the client for them and put them right. The agency began to grow at a prodigious rate and by 1998 it was bought by FCB Worldwide. Clients included Amtico, Virgin Interactive, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Daihatsu UK. Bombay Sapphire Gin.
Territorial Army, Financial Times, Merrill Lynch, Halifax, Predictor, Purr Magazine, Napolina Pasta Sauces, Freshbrew Tea, Chrysler, Jeep, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, Tyco.