The Annual 2006: Top 10 DM creative directors


Irascible, moody and difficult are all words that have, at some time, been used to describe Harrison, but far more often, he is just known as bloody brilliant. In a straw poll of his peers, Harrison always comes out on top. He's admired for creating eye-catching and engaging work for all kinds of brands. The account that gets him most recognition these days is Microsoft. How he gets groundbreaking ideas, such as last year's "bolt-on" mailing or the "duster" campaign, past the client is anybody's guess. His talent was rewarded this year when he was made the worldwide creative director of Wunderman.


Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel has once again become the agency that rivals fear on awards shortlists. This year's "bulldog" mailing, on which Buckingham was the creative director, swiped a D&AD yellow Pencil and a Campaign Direct Silver. Although its standards have never sunk very low, the agency's work has returned to its glory days. Buckingham must be applauded for its new consistency.


Credited with overseeing Craik Jones's award-winning Virgin Trains and First Direct accounts, Rae - the only woman on this list - has earned her place at number three. She has a knack for finding a brand's personality and reflecting this in the creative execution. This skill is borne out in this year's "tin foil" mailing for Virgin Trains and First Direct's Fuzzy Felt pack, which convey the warmth and sensibilities of both brands. As a result, the agency is becoming a hot favourite within the creative community.


Townshend's dream of producing response-driven work that stands up to branding campaigns from above-the-line agencies took a major leap forward this year when Rapier nudged Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R aside to lead the launch task for the merged Virgin ntl: Telewest. He's a well-rounded and grown-up creative director, who hasn't lost his edge and knows how to get the best out of his teams.


Aldridge is still one of the most admired creatives in his field and is a great figurehead for the industry. His agency, Partners Andrews Aldridge, continues to flourish as an independent hotshop and his singlemindedness and pride in the discipline gives it credibility. His talent as an art director is reflected in the beautifully crafted work the agency continues to produce.


Stretton is that rare breed of creative director who can charm clients as well as any account director. He can produce superbly crafted work based on strong ideas and is great at spotting talent, ensuring his work is never let down by sloppy copy. More and more, he is championing all-encompassing integrated campaigns for longstanding clients such as O2 and Skoda, on which the agency's proposition has been built from day one. These are delivering impressive results and landing the agency with incremental work.


These two arrived as a pair at Claydon Heeley five years ago from TBWA\London. Not only are they a brilliant company, but they are gaining respect from their peers. By involving themselves in awards juries and displaying an impressive grasp of digital and direct, they have proved to their doubters that they are serious and capable. Meanwhile, Claydon Heeley continues to perform well in new business, and the agency's output on its Mercedes account is compelling the client to lavish them with more and more work.


Burke was seriously stalked by Tequila\London and offered an amazing deal to prise him away from OgilvyOne - his home for 15 years. The standard of work he achieved in such a corporate culture cannot be overlooked - culminating in a yellow Pencil this year for Cancer Research (for last year's "bench"). Hiring him has been a serious coup for Tequila.


The strong, ideas-led campaigns for Samaritans, the Department of Health and Virgin have earned Kitcatt his place on this list. Kitcatt Nohr's 2006 new-business record is a tribute to the strength of the agency's creative product. Waitrose, Norwich Union Healthcare and Citroen mean he's doing something right. The agency has continued to produce work for not-for-profit clients, such as Samaritans and the Department of Health.


Glenmorangie and Ardbeg never fail to collect gongs for his Scottish agency, Story, every year. The consistency of this work earns Mullen the constant admiration of his peers and numerous recommendations for his inclusion in this year's list.


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