Dave Buonaguidi on his hiatus from the industry: ‘You shouldn’t hate working at your own agency – but I did’

When Karmarama co-founder Dave Buonaguidi quit the agency he founded, he did so publically, lambasting the “professional creatives who are only creative between the hours of 9am and 6pm” who work in agencies all based on Mad Men”. Yet now he’s back in ad land, working as creative director at CP+B.

In the fifth episode of Why I Left Advertising, Buonaguidi takes The Drum inside his disillusionment with his agency, his colleagues and the industry he once dreamed of working in since he was a teenager in his dad’s Italian restaurant.

“I made some very strange decisions about bringing certain people in that I thought would help the brand and they were there to help themselves,” he says. “It just became a selfish brand.

“I lost everything. I didn’t make any money out of it or anything of any value. It was more [for] my own sanity. When I left it bore nothing to any company that I would ever have set up, which made it easier.”

Buonaguidi was put on a “very restrictive” period of gardening leave – an enforced gap year where he discovered the joys of screen printing. Now, as a regular down at Print Club London, he’d love to be an artist, but he’s back in the world of advertising simply because he loves it.

"I need to do this because I really enjoy it,” he explains.

And as for Karmarama’s sale to Accenture?

“I don’t care at all,” he says. “It’s a bit like driving past the house where you once lived in, where you had amazing memories, but somebody else lives there now - people that I don’t really like.”

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Katie Deighton

Katie Deighton is The Drum’s senior reporter - creative and video based in London. She produces, films, presents and edits the title’s editorial video output, including series such as On The Scene, Ad Breakers and Why I Left Advertising, and manages its coverage of the creative sector. She also reports on the intersection between politics and marketing, as well as the third sector and fashion.

All by Katie