David Billing

David Billing

Chief creative officer

The Beyond Collective

Contact me
Work email


Give us one reason why advertising is still brilliant in 2019.

Because we are like kids who own the biggest toybox that any kid has ever owned. All we lack is imagination.

In 2019, I'll be using blockchain to…

Add to my list of technologies it is fashionable for advertising people to talk about, without really understanding anything practical about its application.

You decide to launch a brand. What is it called and what does it do?

It is called Lenin & McCartney: Back in the USSR. It features the animatronically rigged, embalmed corpse of Lenin, accompanied by Paul McCartney. Playing the greatest hits of The Beatles across the former Soviet Union. People would pay to see that. Sorry. I thought you said "launch a band".

When was the last time you felt professionally vulnerable and why?

When I was a songwriter, I had to go on these really awkward writing camps for pop stars. You and a bunch of other producers, all vying for time with "the talent" to bash out the hit that could make your career. Pitching is nothing. Once a bloke from Liberty X sat on my guitar and broke it.

Who is your favourite Instagrammer and why?

DanTDM because he keeps my kids mercifully quiet for hours, and also because he's a constant reminder that The World Has Changed. Dan rakes in millions of dollars and subscribers essentially by playing Minecraft at home in his pants. That's who we're competing with for eyeballs.

You win the lottery. What would you do first?

Find the most expensive retail site in Mayfair and rent it. Then open a factory in which I get birds to collect scraps of material to make "nests". These nests I then sell in my exclusive boutique as exorbitantly priced hats to rich folk. It's an absurdist joke about capitalism. Minus a punchline.

Name one thing you think is criminally overrated by industry, society or culture and explain why.

The individual. I'd like to think we're through with the age of "because I'm worth it" as it's landed us pretty much in the doo-doo. Heavy stuff to ponder but we need to start thinking of "we" more. What we need collectively as humans on a very fragile planet. Right on.

Name one thing you think is criminally underrated by industry, society or culture and explain why.

Absurdity. We all take ourselves way too seriously. It probably contradicts what I just said above but, then, I don't take myself that seriously. Behind all the best cultural creations is a sense of how absurd and improbable life is. It is the fuel that propels ideas beyond the mundane.

What is your go-to boxset binge?

Ozark. Black-as-night comedy drama featuring Mr Nice Guy Jason Bateman as a deeply compromised family man trying to stop gangsters sending him to an early grave. Something in it resonates with me.

Enough's enough: it's time the next Doctor Who was…

Theresa May. She has the ability to stretch time so incredibly thin it creates the illusion of things happening when, in fact, they aren't. If that's not Time Lord-level shit I don't know what is. Plus, at the time of writing, it looks like she might be pretty free soon, anyway.

If you weren't you, who in the industry would you like to be?

Hegarty. The Grand Old Angry Man of the industry, with a fantastic body of work created during a time when the industry commanded real attention, money and fame. Basically, a vanished world. It's an enviable position from which to snipe and generally cause much-needed trouble.

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