Chief creative officer, Havas London
Vicki Maguire joined Havas London as its first female chief creative officer just eight weeks before the global pandemic hit. Yet in that short time, she has already made her mark on the agency, sparking something of a creative renaissance, while her efforts to promote diversity and talent development within the industry continue apace.
Maguire’s leadership helped to attract a diverse range of new brands to the agency’s client portfolio, as well as deepen existing client relationships. Creative highlights included Durex’s provocation during lockdown, urging people to “not go back to normal” ideas of sex – igniting a cultural conversation about sexual norms.
A campaign for the Laura Hyde Foundation aimed to raise awareness of the looming mental-health crisis for frontline workers, while work for the Department for Education celebrated teachers, parents and schoolchildren, who carried on despite the pressures of home-schooling. Work for Coors Light, Carling, Citroën and EDF also imbued the brands with fresh energy.
Creativity also played a part in protecting the wellbeing of employees working from home. Maguire collaborated with the leadership team on internal initiatives to ease the process, such as a “You are not home alone guide” and “Havas from home”, featuring best practices and tips. Other initiatives driven by Maguire included an incubator programme supporting black businesses, a mentorship programme focused on BAME candidates and encouraging the industry to adopt Havas’ anti-discrimination initiative, Press Pause.
Darren Bailes, executive creative director, VCCP
Creative highlights across 2020 spanned more sparkling work for Cadbury, including Cadbury Dairy Milk’s “The originals”, an ad encouraging people to stop and listen to what the older generation has to say, in partnership with Age UK. Bailes was also behind Comparethemarket.com’s Meerkat Music platform, which reunited Take That and Robbie Williams for a lockdown concert live-streamed on YouTube.
Richard Brim, chief creative officer, Adam & Eve/DDB
Brim empowered 66 creatives to work successfully from home, delivering the agency's largest number of campaigns ever. Those included work for the AA, PlayStation, EA Sports’ Fifa, Mars Temptations and CALM, as well as a new creative approach to John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners’ much-anticipated joint Christmas campaign. Brim has also spearheaded industry-wide initiatives, from setting environmental standards to driving DE&I in the production world.
George Bryant, founder and chief creative officer, The Brooklyn Brothers
Creative work across 2020 included helping global clients like the Financial Times to champion a new agenda for capitalism, to working with challenger brands like WaterWipes to help struggling parents. It also teamed up with Bumble to empower young women in the dating scene. Bryant also led the agency to its most successful year ever in terms of new business, client growth and global creative recognition.
David Kolbusz, chief creative officer, Droga5 London
Under Kolbusz’ leadership, Droga5 London created work that entertained, kept brands relevant and which resonated with people dealing with the impact of the pandemic. Activity spanned brands including Amazon, Barclaycard and Rustlers, with the agency’s culture-defining work propelling it to its strongest year of growth ever.
Laurent Simon, chief creative officer, VMLY&R
Simon joined VMLY&R at the end of 2019 and spent 2020 building the creative reputation of the newly merged agency, bringing in leading talent. Work spanned a range of brands, such as Baileys, Viagra Connect and the Department for Transport. He has also helped to raise the profile of the agency within the industry.