How Dan Douglass got ahead

My very first job in life was as the Assistant to the Circulation and Distribution Manager of the Transport & General Workers Union Journal The Record. The bad thing? The job endless stuffing of envelopes and label sticking. The good thing? The cheese, tomato and pickle sarnies from the caf矯n the corner of Smith Square.

Name: Dan Douglass
Company: Meteorite
Job title: Executive Creative Director

What made you want to get into marketing?
The power of words to move people.  It sounds worthy but when I started I saw it as an exceptional privilege to be able to write creatively and get paid for doing it!

How did you get into the industry (including relevant qualifications and professional training)?
I did English at Oxford and a media career seemed like a natural choice. I thought about doing the usual milk round of advertising agency trainee schemes but the daunting selection process put me off.
Then came the in…
…I knew the sister of Robin Kingsland – the ‘K’ of ‘KLP’. She set up a meeting with Robin – I worked the first 6 weeks for no pay, made the grade and joined permanently.
Although I started as an Account Executive I soon teamed up with an Art Director and we did two D&AD courses. Something I’d recommend to all creative starting out.

What was good and bad about your first job?
My very first job in life was as the Assistant to the Circulation and Distribution Manager of the Transport & General Workers Union Journal ‘The Record’.
The bad thing? The job – endless stuffing of envelopes and label sticking.
The good thing? The cheese, tomato and pickle sarnies from the café on the corner of Smith Square.

List your jobs to date:
Account Executive KLP
Copywriter KLP
Creative Director, KLP International
Creative Director, The Marketing Team
Founding Partner & Executive Creative Director, DP&A
Executive Creative Director, FCBi London
Executive Creative Director, Meteorite

What were the best and worst, and why?
Worst – Account Executive. I stuck it for 12 months knowing that the work I was “bag carrying” I could do so much better (punchy little upstart that I was)
Best – Partner & Executive Creative Director DP&A. Total independence is good for the soul.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My Dad for his creativity – journo, actor, writer & cruciverbalist, he did more than anyone to teach me the value of words and how to use them sparingly.

Who in the industry do you most admire?
It’s a dead heat between:
Cordell Burke, Executive Creative Director at Tequila, for being a fine human being and showing you don’t need an ego to succeed in this business.
Peter Riley, Founder & Creative Partner 20:20, for building a peerless creative product based on passion and attitude.

What is your biggest achievement to date?
Passing my driving test first time – my older brother (who’s well into motors) failed his…

On what do you base your success so far?
The fact that I feel that success continually eludes me.

What are your ambitions?
To see the earth from space.

Change one thing about your job:
The banality of filling out timesheets

Change one thing about your industry:
The sheer insanity of the pitch process (don’t get me started)

Change one thing about the world:
Turn it upside down. Put the developing world on the top for once. We could learn a thing or two from them about humility.

What is your favourite brand?
TATA. Est. in the mid 19th century by Jamsetji Tata this family group have built a brand with no pretension that shows you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Millions of management hours have been invested in R&D and diversification but TATA have said “bugger that” – let’s do telecommunications, book publishing, automotive, earthmovers, aviation, financial services, ceramics, tea and coffee. Let’s build products and services for industry & companies, homes & people with the objective of building our nation. How’s that for a confident brand?

What is the next big brand in your view?  All I’ll say is that, as the internet generation reaches an age where they appreciate their mortality, they’ll think seriously about how they would like to be remembered.

List your “media diet”:
“Countdown”, “Deal or No Deal”, “You Tube” and perfecting my avatar…sorry forgot, gardening leave is over. I’ve started full-time at Meteorite. So it’s back to the marketing press.

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