THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 best creative directors

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 19 December 2003 10:00AM

1. John O'Keeffe: Precipitate remarks about Samuel L Jackson being dropped as the Barclays frontman shouldn't detract from the fact that O'Keeffe maintains consistently high creative standards across the board at Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Solid performances on unpromising accounts such as Woolworths and KFC are complemented by some real gems such as Lynx's disco-dancing nerd.

2. Trevor Beattie

He demands inclusion and not only for the acres of PR he attracts for TBWA\London. Outside adland, the man behind "hello boys" and fcuk commands endless fascination. Inside it, he's a magnet for talent and a catalyst for quality creative work, which this year included the Hector's House campaign to relaunch Virgin One and memorable work for the mobile network 3.

3. Steve Harrison

If Harrison were an above-the-line creative, he'd have a statue in Soho dedicated to him. His agency, Harrison Troughton Wunderman, swept the board in 2002. This year it did even better, securing five silvers at the Campaign Direct Awards, a record 16 nominations at the Royal Mail DMA Awards and a hatful of Cannes accolades. What's more, his M&G print work threatens to become this century's Economist campaign.

4. Damon Collins

Collins' second appearance in this issue concerns not his art directing father, Ron, but his own talent. A grafter with limited management experience but an admired body of work of his own, Collins is the latest in a long line of home-grown creative directors at Lowe. His department has produced admired work this year for Olympus, Tesco and Stella Artois.

5. Flo Heiss

Dare Digital's Bavarian-born Heiss has been praised not only as a talented design man but someone who has always believed great ideas are more important than the technology that delivers them. Bullshit-free and with an enormous devotion to detail, he's overseen some of Dare's best work this year, including campaigns for Lynx, Sony Ericsson and Ginsters

6. Richard Flintham and Andy McLeod

The Fallon pair are regarded as one of the potent creative combinations at a major UK shop. Their strength is said to lie in their complementary abilities. McLeod is the strategically attuned one who can spot the creative potential of a brief with uncanny accuracy. Flintham is praised for his creatively fertile mind. The result is a creative tension in which ideas flourish.

7. Nick Bell

Variously described as hard-working, driven, smart, articulate and a good team leader, J. Walter Thompson's newly appointed executive creative director has a proven pedigree. And he can enhance it further if he can replicate his success in bringing creative potency to stuffy old Leo Burnett at JWT, whose output has tended to be workmanlike rather than pioneering. Onlookers say that if JWT has the will to raise its creative game and is prepared to back him, then it has the right man.

8. Jim Thornton and Paul Shearer

Leo Burnett was hailed for pulling off something of a coup by plundering Mother and Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam to hire Thornton and Shearer as executive creative directors. Theirs is a partnership of talent and experience that equips them to restore some of the quality creative work that has been lacking in recent times and to bear out the promise of Bruce Haines, the chief executive, that: "We don't intend to just sit there and be rolled over."

9. Steve Aldridge

Aldridge is often accused of running a below-the-line boutique. This criticism is a touch unfair. It's true that much of his work is fancy (take the Harley Davidson and Lexus accounts, for example). But the consistent standard of Partners Andrews Aldridge's work for the financial behemoth Lloyds TSB and the ambitious anti-smoking CRM project for COI Communications, the Together Programme, show the breadth of Aldridge's talent.

10. Dave Bedwood and Sam Ball

Tribal DDB's strong reputation for strategic thinking coupled with excellent creative work is due in no small measure to the potency of its joint creative directors, Bedwood and Ball. In particular their work for Volkswagen is an indication of the progress being made by digital creativity in gaining recognition and combining with traditional media to create a more synergistic offering.

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This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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