1. STEVE ALDRIDGE
Partners Andrews Aldridge is consistently reaching the highest standards in the business. Aldridge's flair and desire to produce the best have much to do with this. The creative director of Campaign's Direct Agency of the Year has assembled an array of talent around him and noted campaigns for Lloyds, Bupa, Art Fund and Lexus have followed.
2. STEVE HARRISON
There may still be issues to be resolved at Harrison Troughton Wunderman but its creative output is among the best around. Its work for the AA won at Cannes and received recognition from the D&AD. Harrison's copywriting on its M&G work is nothing short of miraculous.
3. IAN HAWORTH
WWAV creative in top-three shocker. But Haworth has earned it by overseeing a genuine improvement in WWAV's creative product combined with the ability to create interesting work for more traditional clients such as NSPCC alongside newer clients such as Carling. Haworth's enthusiasm is infectious.
4. JOHN TOWNSHEND
Standards in Rapier's direct marketing creative remain high across the board. Strong work for Channel 4, NPower and Axa has stood out but the agency is falling frustratingly short of winning big awards. However, Townshend's work for NPower enabled Rapier to nick the branding work from TBWA/London.
5. CHRIS BARRACLOUGH
Proximity has experienced something of a creative resurgence with its name back on the lists of award winners and a high standard of creative for Volkswagen, Pedigree, Panasonic and TV Licensing. It is no coincidence that Barraclough has become more involved since the departure of the former creative director, Nick Moore.
6. GARY SHARPEN
Sharpen's knowledgeable, craft-led approach is paying dividends for Leonardo, with strong work for big brands such as Holiday Inn and Kellogg following its breakthrough work for VSO last year. Sharpen's creative credentials are some of the best around and he is comfortable in most media.
7. STEVE STRETTON
Last year's top dog, Stretton is capable of getting remarkable work out of Archibald Ingall Stretton's creatives. However, its Seeboard TV spots are a black mark against him, though the agency's fine Skoda work at least redresses the balance. Hopefully, AIS's BMW win will provide the opportunity to up the ante.
8. DAVE WOODS AND PETER HARLE
Hired last year from TBWA/London, the Claydon Heeley Jones Mason creative directors have improved the agency's creative product considerably. The agency's work is now consistently good where before it was more miss than hit. Award-winning work for Calloway sits alongside some great campaigns for PlayStation, The Guardian and One2One.
9. SIMON KERSHAW AND PHIL KEEVILL
The Craik Jones creative directors ensured that the agency's creative reputation continued to blossom, even when creating large volumes of work for the likes of Orange. Its best work, for ATOC, First Direct and Gordon's Gin, should see the agency back among the awards winners.
10. MIKE CAVERS
One of the most opinionated (pig-headed?), gifted creative directors in DM, Cavers settled into Publicis Dialog this year after arriving in 2001. Good work is starting to come through on its COI and Renault accounts. The task for the agency is to use Cavers' track record to bring in new business.
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