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Creative Creative Works World Creative Rankings

World Creative Rankings: Richard Brim talks John Lewis, Shelter and exciting ideas


By Amy Houston, Senior Reporter

March 7, 2024 | 7 min read

We catch up with Adam&EveDDB’s chief creative officer, who has been named one of the most awarded CCOs in this year’s World Creative Rankings.

Rick Brim

Richard Brim / adam&eveDDB

With over two decades in adland, Richard Brim has created some of the most loved and well-known ads in Britain, including a mammoth legacy of John Lewis Christmas campaigns.

Growing up, he was inspired by the Tango ads of the 90s and a TV show about the Saatchi brothers. He found his way into the trade by gaining a place on the coveted art course at Central St Martins College of Art. For three years he dabbled in photography, film, computing (as it was known then) and finally majored in advertising.

A stint on placement in Germany and then at Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R back in London followed. It was an amazing time with great people, Brim says. “My formative years of advertising were a lot of fun but not that sort of, oh yeah, old school, misogynistic advertising, it was just a lot of smart people, laughing loads.”

Amid the banter, the work for clients like Virgin Atlantic, Jaguar and M&S stood out. “The two aren’t mutually exclusive. When you have both together that’s when the best work comes out.” It’s something Brim feels passionately about to this day.

A seven-year run at Leo Burnett was the next and it was there where he and his old creative partner Dan Fisher would make one of the ads that he’s most proud of. It was for the charity Shelter and it compared the housing crisis to a house of cards that could fall at any minute.

To raise funds for the organization, Brim and his team called on creatives to make bespoke cards that would be auctioned off. Within two weeks all the artworks began flooding in from big-name artists like Damien Hirst, David Bailey, Mark Quinn and Alexander McQueen. He remembers how exhilarating the whole thing was.

“We got someone over to the Vivienne Westwood offices because they wanted to present the card themselves,” he retells. “A guy came in and apologized that Vivienne couldn’t be there and then he went ‘ta-dah!’ and presented a picture of her head in a bell jar. It looked severed.”

It was amazing but it wasn’t a playing card. Two days later, the same dramatic scene played out in the Westwood offices. Ta-dah! This time a card was unveiled. The auction ended up raising around half a million pounds.

Of course, it would be his next move a new shop that would come to produce the ads that Brim would become synonymous with. The spring of 2013 saw the creative join Adam&EveDDB, an agency where he has stayed put for over a decade and produced, arguably, the UK’s most-loved Christmas campaigns.

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“When me and Dan wrote ‘Monty the Penguin’ for John Lewis it was the first time that anybody from up North, where I’m from, knew what I did,” he laughs. “It holds a very special place.”

His tenure as creative director, and now chief creative officer, at the London agency will forever be marked by the work that was done for the retailer during the festive period. After winning the account in March 2009, few would have known it would become one of the most lucrative partnerships in adland.

Using a charming formula of emotional storytelling and recognizable soundtracks, Brim and his team created some of the brand's most-loved and memorable ad campaigns.

With 20 years under his belt in an ever-changing industry, Brim has lots of advice for young creatives. He’s a big believer in teamwork and getting people together to come up with ideas.

What he wants people to know about this industry is the buzz you can get from making great work. “Somebody showed me an idea the other day and I felt a physical surge, it must be adrenalin,” he says.

“I wanted to bounce around the agency and tell everyone about this idea. My old partner used to fucking hate this, but that’s how I form my thoughts. As I’m telling the idea, I’ll build on it.”

Creative Creative Works World Creative Rankings

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