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South West Creative Directors

By The Drum | Administrator

December 22, 2003 | 16 min read

If agency creatives are expected to conjure up a campaign to warm client cockles this winter, then they are going to need their sources of inspiration. Family pictures, dartboards, basketball hoops, the indispensable football table and, of course, a beanbag are all popular choices for crafting an idea-inducing environment for a creative department. And while the aforementioned props provide the food for creative thought up and down the country, it’s hard to imagine many locations that provide as much of an inspirational setting as the South West. From the captivating city of Bristol and the charming beaches of the south coast to the countryside that generates an ambience throughout the region, the South West is a beautiful part of the country and, as such, finds little challenge in stimulating creative thinking.

And so, dispensing with the corporate slant on why choosing an agency outside the M25 can be a good idea, it’s the turn of these creative bods to step into the limelight.

And for anyone who’s still oblivious to the startling creative ability that resides within this corner of the country, look no further than the team at BCLO, who could barely keep their seats warm at this year’s Cream awards, notching up a series of wins. And that’s not to mention the likes of Bray Leino, Dutton Merrifield, Marketing Matters, Rhythmm and McCann-Erickson Bristol to name but a few, all of which have been producing top-notch creativity for top-notch clients over the past 12 months.

Delving into the melting pot of talent from places like Cheltenham, Bristol, Bath, Bournemouth and Exeter, Adline has commissioned agency creatives to tell us a little bit about who they are, what they’ve been up to and what they’re doing now, as well as giving insight into what makes such a disparate and unquestionably talented bunch tick.

Name: Adrian Crane

Age: I’m 45 but if it’s optional I’d like to be 36

Company: Factor3

Job title: Creative director

Career to date: Founded Factor3 in 1996. Formerly CD of Target Advertising and copywriter at various agencies in provinces.

Biggest achievement to date: Starting and building a successful company that people enjoy working for and with.

Campaigns currently working on: Pitch in the housing sector. New concept launch for Livingwell health clubs. New campaign for Cheltenham&Gloucester.

Alternative career (if you needed one): I’ve always wanted to work in women’s underwear.

Advice to creative wannabes: If you are creative and really want a bee, has useful links.

New Year’s resolutions: Get fit (with Livingwell), extend house (with C&G mortgage), spend more time in garden (with Kettler furniture), look forward to early retirement (with Pegasus), grow the business (with Business Link). And be less sycophantic.

Dream brand to work on: We do all our work on Macs and are very happy with them.

Name: Chris G. Badley

Age: 45

Company: Rhythmm

Job title: Copy director

Career to date: Tandy/Radio Shack in house (how many people out there have had their big break in Walsall?), Royds, Brunnings, JPG, RSJPG, JPH, Rhythmm (where did all the vowels go? That’s the problem with Letraset).

Biggest achievements to date: Being happy where I am.

Campaigns currently working on: Bristol & West ISA campaign. Bristol & West Mortgages flexible mortgages campaign. And I’m hardly likely to blab to you about all the top-secret new business we’re working on, am I?

Alternative career (if you needed one): Gamekeeper.

Advice to creative wannabes: Don’t be labelled as a wannabe. Go straight in as the finished article.

New Year’s resolutions: To take up smoking. I tried and failed earlier in the year. But now I think I’m ready and I’m going to give smoking a real go.

Dream brand to work on: Trebor Fruit Salads and Blackjacks. I think penny sweets are criminally under marketed.

Name: Jeff Meaton

Age: 38

Company: Thompson & Wilson Communications Ltd

Job Title: Head of creative services

Career to date: Head of creative services, five years; art director – Target Direct, three years; senior designer – Oxfam, five years; designer – Courtney Pope Holding Plc, two years.

Biggest achievement to date: Besides my two gorgeous daughters, part of the Oxfam team, which produced a DM piece that raised over £1million for emergency aid for Rwanda.

Campaigns currently working on: Developing a range of materials for raising the awareness of Leprosy sufferers throughout Europe. Invista (formerly DuPont) producing multi-language DM, “Airbags” CD and packaging for UK and Europe.

Alternative career (if you needed one): A restaurant assessor for Egon Ronay!

Advice to creative wannabes: Learn to listen to your clients.

New Year’s resolutions: Don’t believe in them. If you want to effect change, do it now!

Dream brand to work on: RailTrack or Royal Mail – the only way is up! You can always blame previous campaigns on lack of investment!

Name: Lawrence Roberts

Age: 41

Company: Logo Design & Marketing

Job Title: Senior graphic designer and studio manager

Career to date: Designer (21 years and counting).

Biggest achievements to date: Producing a 120 ft long x 7 ft high exhibition graphic for the Health Promotional Agency, called “A Picture of Health”. Producing two highly successful road safety campaigns for Devon County Council.

Campaigns currently working on: New packaging destined for the shelves of PC World. The Plymouth City Council Christmas shopping promotion and POS material for Interfish.

Alternative career (if you needed one): Probably working with people or animals, such as the RSPCA or a probation officer looking after ex-cons.

New Year’s resolutions: Survive another year as a designer without going completely mad.

Dream brands to work on: Triumph Motorcycles, GAP or Diesel clothes and G Shock Watches.

Name: Paul Valensky Carroll

Age: 21

Company: Mason Zimbler

Job title: Creative director

Career to date: Used to be a matador, lost my licence and have worked mostly in abattoirs ever since.

Biggest achievements to date: Scoring winning try against France in 1979 at the Stadium d’Honneur whilst playing Rugby League for Great Britain U19s.

Campaigns currently working on: Microsoft, Microsoft, oh, and did I mention Microsoft?

Alternative career (if you needed one): Playing piano in brothels.

Advice to creative wannabes: Be totally driven, single-minded and selfish. More importantly, find a creative partner much better than you then stick to them like glue.

New Year’s resolutions: Re-take the 12 steps.

Dream brand to work on: One I’m working on at present.

Name: Nick Thomas

Age: 45

Company: Target Direct Marketing

Job title: Executive creative director

Career to date: Learned the ropes at Brann (now EHS Brann) in Cirencester. Set up direct arm of advertising agency (Waldron Allen) in Knightsbridge. Moved to creative hot-shop Chapter One in 1987 as creative director. Co-founded Target Direct in 1993.

Biggest achievements to date: Helping to create three great kids. Growing every business I’ve been involved in. Winning 80 creative awards. Keeping sane.

Campaigns currently working on: Several. For most of the clients listed below.

Major clients feature: British Heart Foundation, Royal British Legion, Oxfam, the Imperial War Museum, Bridge the World, Dollond & Aitchison, Bridge Travel, the National Trust.

Alternative career (if you needed one): Sports writer for the Guardian.

Advice to creative wannabes: Learn to sell your work.

New Year’s resolutions: To become wiser, richer, and happier.

Dream brand to work on: Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

Name: Stephen James

Age: 45

Company: Bray Leino

Job title: Creative director

Career to date: Bray Leino, man & boy.

Biggest achievements to date: No big ones to speak of yet!

Campaigns currently working on: Not telling.

Alternative career (if you needed one): Freelance astronaut.

Advice to creative wannabes: If you don’t fancy hard work, do something else.

New Year’s resolutions: Eat and drink more.

Dream brand to work on: Working on it now.

Name: Steve Davies

Age: 29 ... isn’t everyone?

Company: Dutton Merrifield

Job title: Creative director

Career to date: 1999–present, Dutton Merrifield; 1997–1999, The Idea Works; 1996–1997, various agencies whilst messing about in the southern hemisphere; 1993–1996, Jarvis White.

Biggest achievements to date: Getting the latest ATL campaign for Bristol Zoo approved with almost no comment from the Zoo’s boss.

Campaigns currently working on: Bristol Zoo advertising campaign for 2004, loads of brand-led comms for 3, Lloyds TSB and all our other clients!

Alternative career (if you needed one): I’ve always wondered what it would be like to create a bit of kit that allows me to subconsciously think and design while I’m asleep or feeling lazy ... (the iplod!)

Advice to creative wannabes: Be impressed, be inspired and be fascinated by all the creative communications you get exposed to.

New year’s resolutions: To give myself more time to complete questionnaires like this.

Dream brand to work on: Iraq Tourism Authority.

Name: George Beverley

Age: Early to mid-thirties!

Company: Marketing Matters

Job title: Creative director

Career to date: Previously at WWAV Rapp Collins, Black Cat, DMB&B and JWT.

Biggest achievements to date: Joining an agency that’s genuinely integrated in its thinking!

Campaigns currently working on: Cars, boats and building societies.

Alternative career (if you needed one): Tailoring.

Advice to creative wannabes: Work hard but be prepared to fail!

New Year’s resolutions: Balance transfer.

Dream brand to work on: Ann Summers.

Name: Roger Taylor

Age: 36

Company: Montpellier Creative

Job title: Creative director

Career to date: Graduated. A range of creative positions with a number of design-led agencies. Freelanced before joining Montpellier in March 2000, promoted to creative director in November 2000.

Biggest achievements to date: (Apart from fatherhood) getting clients to recognise the bottom-line benefits of design!

Campaigns currently working on: Territorial Army; Dynmark Software; Evesham Technology; Urban Mover.

Alternative career (if you needed one): Adventure travel guide.

Advice to creative wannabes: Get some real life experience.

New Year’s resolutions: Learn to say no in a positive way.

Dream brand to work on: Nepal Tourist Authority.

Name: Mervyn Searle

Age: 67

Company: RH Advertising

Job title: Creative director

Career to date: JWT Cape Town then various London agencies including McCanns, Masius. Then Mckinstry Schonfeldt Cape Town and Y+E Cape Town (Deputy CD). And currently RH Advertising.

Biggest achievements to date: Being able to still work in advertising and love it.

Campaigns currently working on: SW Tourism, RDA business, Paignton Zoo.

Alternative career (if you needed one): Sculpture.

Advice to creative wannabes: Be passionate about your work.

New Year’s resolutions: To retire on a high.

Dream brand to work on: John Smiths Bitter.

Name: Mark Warman

Age: 33

Company: The Church Agency (Bristol)

Job title: Designer

Career to date: 1996–2001 Major Design (Nottingham, now M360); 2001–2002 5C (Bedford); 2002–2003 Epoch Design (Bristol); reluctant to leave 5C, relocated to Bristol for the love of the SW; 2003 The Church Agency (formerly 5C).

Biggest achievements to date: Joining a very passionate team at Church Bristol and achieving so much in such a short space of time.

Campaigns currently working on: Dulux colour brochures; WKD, promotional activities; Wadworth 6X advertising campaign.

Alternative career (if you needed one): To design and build furniture, to be an artist or photojournalist.

Advice to creative wannabes: Never stop looking and thinking about your environment – it is constantly changing.

New Year’s resolutions: To help build Church into a very successful and real design agency.

Dream brand to work on: Thought Coke would have been it!

Name: Chris Strick

Age: 40

Company: Design Group

Job title: Creative director

Career to date: Man & Boy.

Biggest achievements to date: 3Com Worldwide Advertising; putting up with design group team!

Campaigns currently working on: Royal Mail rebranding, Peugeot Insurance relaunch, RNLI Events communication.

Alternative career (if you needed one): Chef (in McDonalds!).

Advice to creative wannabes: Work hard. Don’t ever give up.

New Year’s resolutions: Finish decorating the kitchen.

Dream brand to work on: Guinness.

Name: Christelle Jones

Age: 32

Company: McCann-Erickson Bristol

Job title: Head of copy

Career to date: Murky

Biggest achievements to date: Check out the 1995 Beano Annual. That’s all I’m saying.

Campaigns currently working on: Getting January the 2nd off (well it is a Friday).

Alternative career (if you needed one): According to a psychometric test I should be either a zookeeper or an embalmer. Then the careers woman pointed out that I’d filled the form in wrong and my ideal job would be ... a copywriter.

Advice to creative wannabes: Go home, you smug, fresh-faced gits and stop trying to nick my job.

New Year’s resolutions: Be nicer to creative wannabes (see above).

Dream brand to work on: Stowells of Chelsea. Mmmmmm.

Name: Tim Blackshaw

Age: 40s

Company: Attinger Jack Advertising

Job Title: Creative director

Career to date: FCB, Saatchi’s, AJA.

Biggest achievements to date: Coming from a heavy brand advertising background and converting to a response-led creative.

Campaigns currently working on: Accident Advice Helpline TV and Pan-European TV for Tempur Sleep Systems.

Alternative career (if you needed one): Tour de France Champion.

Advice to creative wannabes: If you’re in your 20s, take up cycling. It’s easier (but on reflection not nearly as much fun).

New Year’s resolutions: To have the best direct response showreel in the South West of England – oh, and to lose some weight.

Dream brand to work on: Fizik. They make ladies’ saddles – just think of those photo shoots!

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Name: Loz Grinter

Age: 40 (plus or minus three years)

Company: TDA

Job title: Creative director online

Career to date: Tea boy at Virgin; position of responsibility at Bull Rodger; CD at Gowers; freelance AD at Tequila, AIS, Brann; CD at Logo; CDO at TDA.

Biggest achievements to date: Leaving the London rat-race; running my own company; being part of some of the most exciting uses of online in direct marketing with TDA; having the Batmobile at my wedding.

Campaigns currently working on: Rich media online ad campaign for financial services client; online section for direct marketing guidelines for a national brand relaunch; CRM e-mail and sms campaign for a high-street brand.

Alternative career (if you needed one): Dot-com entrepreneur.

Advice to creative wannabes: Eat, sleep and drink it; be a good listener; never think of anything as irrelevant.

New Year’s resolutions: Find time to speak to a few friends; get broadband to our village; help get online higher up the top six media.

Dream brand to work on: British Airways.

Name: Richard Kramer

Age: 46

Company: BCLO

Job title: Creative director

Career to date: Over 20 years in the business working for many large multinational agencies including Bates, DDB and Grey, both in London and overseas.

Biggest achievements to date: Over 60 major award wins, including: One Show, Campaign Posters and Creative Circle.

Campaigns currently working on: Yamaha Motorbikes and new business opportunities.

Alternative career (if you needed one): Architect.

Advice to creative wannabes: Immerse yourself in award-winning work and scrutinise the reasons why it has won those awards.

New Year’s resolutions: Eat less crap.

Dream brand to work on: VW.

Name: Russell Warren-Fisher

Age: 39

Company: The English Group

Job title: Creative Director

Career to date: 1988: graduated from Royal College of Art; 1988–2002: independent design and teaching career working with a diverse range of clients including Decca Records, Hong Kong Telecom, Englender Furniture, Royal Academy and Theatre de Complicite. Throughout this period I have enjoyed solo shows of works internationally as well as global touring exhibitions promoting British graphic design; 2002–present day: Creative Director of The English Group.

Biggest achievements to date: Being a father.

Campaigns currently working on: Royal Mail, BAFTA.

Alternative career (if you needed one): Explorer.

Advice to creative wannabes: Good design is always the result of hard work.

New Year’s resolutions: Delegate.

Dream brand to work on: U2 promotional material.


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