British Man Speculates on History’s 10 Greatest Creative Directors

By Patrick Coffee 

Are you familiar with the Forbes CMO Network? No?

Michael Lee co-founded Madam, a London-based creative consultancy. Yesterday he also used his membership in said network to post a bit of the old (three page!!) click bait which is perfect fodder for our readers: who are the 10 best creative directors OF ALL TIME?

Lee is pretty humble about the whole thing, admitting upfront that his is but one stab at the challenge. He also notes that, given the not-so-peculiar history of this industry, the list will inevitably skew toward white guys, many of whom have passed. (Read: it’s all white guys.)

Here are the 10 entries on his list with some of his comments.

  1. John Webster: “described on his death in 2006 as ‘the best TV commercials creator in Britain when Britain was the best in the world'”
  2. Lee Clow: “I doubt there’s disagreement here.”
  3. David Ogilvy: “His sense of what makes great advertising still lingers in Ogilvy.”
  4. Colin Millward of Collett Dickenson Pearce: “Charles Saatchi, who worked at CDP as a copywriter before founding consultancy Cramer Saatchi and then Saatchi & Saatchi, said: ‘Without Colin Millward I would still be delivering groceries in Willesden.’
  5. David Droga: “Not a bad haul in such a short time. Its going to be interesting to see what’s next.”
  6. Bill Bernbach: “He pretty much created modern advertising.”
  7. Remi Babinet: “Wow, what a ridiculously smart idea in an industry of absurd ones.”
  8. Sir John Hegarty: “The work, I felt, is always ridiculously smart, very thought provoking and then flawlessly produced.”
  9. Dan Wieden: “Another obvious one.”
  10. David Lubars: “Everyone else on my list appears to have built their reputation at one agency…”

So, maybe two surprises??

Feel free to strongly disagree with Mr. Lee as you see fit.