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Creative Direction/

design/

leadership

I'm Dave Montrose, a Creative Director and designer, previously Creative Director and senior management at Octopus Group (Publicis Groupe UK), an 80-person London-based integrated B2B marketing agency, and Marketing Agency of The Year 2022, the UK Agency Awards; member of Publicis Groupe UK’s Creative Collective with ECDs and CCOs from each of the Groupe’s agencies, including MSL, Saatchi & Saatchi, Digitas, Publicis Poke, Langland, Taylor Herring, Leo Burnett. Judge for The Drum B2B Awards.

My 20+ year career began copywriting and designing for consumer music magazines, directing photo shoots with high-profile musicians from bands such as Arctic Monkeys, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Green Day. As a creative leader, I’ve sat on senior leadership teams for around 7 years.

At Octopus I was responsible for defining and evolving the ideas and craft of all creative output for the agency, from social and display advertising, film and motion (2D & 3D), through to editorial, branding, and digital experiences. As much commercially minded as creative, wherever I’ve worked, I’ve looked for ways to improve processes and approaches to our work through collaboration and software, and by introducing new skills into teams through up-skilling and hires. In my time at Octopus, I re-established approaches to all creative work to allow for improved stages of development and collaboration between copy and design, working with and managing the studio manager to readdress all timelines and associated costs; introduced new tools and software; and hired new skills into the agency including 3D/film/motion, and UX.

As a creative leader I focus on two things… ideas: how it relates to strategy - the audience's Job To Be Done, proposition, messaging - using differentiation, shifting the lens, execution, budget; and craft: creative copywriting, design, etc. Beautiful things without a central and deliberate idea will fail to resonate; ideas without craft, equally. Great work is about making space, balancing, and elevating both.

As a member of adplist.org and previously Creative Mentor Network, I’m passionate about mentorship as a means to help creatives find their way into the industry, empower them to create their best work, and encourage their progression both professionally and personally. You can read some nice things people have said about me at adplist.com (and/or book a chat there), LinkedIn, and dotted around in the footer of this site.

Outside of work I'm real believer in staying creatively curious, and in constant learning. In 2021, I went on Mark Ritson's Marketing Week Mini MBA course (thoroughly recommend); I'm a multi-instrumental musician and music production nerd, starting on keys at a young age, and onto guitar, drums, and bass in my teens (I eventually realised like a lot of 90s kids, that I wasn't going to be the next Kurt Cobain). I taught myself HTML5, CSS3, jQuery and PHP while freelance. And the 3+ hours of daily commute time I got back in the first lockdown of 2020 was used to learn Blender 3D, and create more music. You can check out some of my 3D exploration and illustration on my Instagram.

If you'd like to find out more about me, get in touch for a chat, or connect with me on LinkedIn – let's talk.

SKILLS

Creative Direction
Art Direction
Creative Strategy
Creative Operations
Design
Branding & Identity
UX Design
Integrated Marketing
Digital & Traditional advertising
Film & Motion; 3D
Creative Copywriting
Storyboarding & Scripting
Editorial
Pitching
C-Suite Stakeholder Management
Creative Workshops
Google Design Sprints
Mentorship
Team Growth
HTML5, CSS, jQuery, PHP
Growing a patchy beard
Writing long lists
A brief history
Creative Director + Snr Mgmt
DEC 2019 - JAN 2023
Senior management; 80-person integrated marketing agency; overseeing all creative work. Led a rebrand; doubled the creative team into a multi-disciplinary studio. Marketing Agency Of The Year, UK Agency Awards 2022. Campaign Best Places to Work 2022.

Clients: Adobe, Siemens, Kantar, Logitech, ACI Worldwide, SSE, Smartsheet, Visa, BT, Premier Inn
Digital Design Director + Snr Mgmt
Jul 2019 - Dec 2019
Leadership for the London studio alongside the CEO and Development Director; a short but enjoyable stint at this nice independent digital product agency of 100+ designers and developers, specialising in Google Design Sprints (love a good post-it note filled workshop), helping businesses launch and grow their digital products, before being invited back to Octopus Group as Creative Director.
Senior Art Director
JAN 2018 - JUL 2019
Large digital consultancy specialising in Sitecore; FTSE100 clients.

Clients: easyJet, Sage, Toyota, Taylor Wimpey.
Head of Design + Snr Mgmt
Mar 2016 - Dec 2017
Senior management, back when Octopus Group was an independent agency; brand; digital, social, editorial; film and motion.

Clients:
 Vodafone, Adecco Group, Bluejeans, British Heart Foundation, Worldpay, Zendesk
Creative for Hire
Self-employed
Jan 2013 - Feb 2016
Pretending I was an agency for a few years; direct clients and 'other' agencies. Digital and print design; web build; didn't sleep enough.

Clients: AutoTrader, Tesco, Travelsphere, Fender, Sky, Puma Energy, Imperial College London, Unipart Rail
Many years of consumer magazine publishing
2002 - 2012
Starting in editorial roles and quickly moving across into design roles, latterly for Future, who most people know for T3, Marie Claire, Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Wallpaper. I didn't work on any of those; I worked on music making titles. But I did have loads of fun, spent a bunch of time in photography studios, met lots of great and talented people, and really kicked off my interest in typography, layout and high standards for design craft.
You can read a more detailed/formalised version of this on Linkedin (or get in touch for a chat):
View my LinkedIn
THEY SAY…
Dave has added a huge amount. You can’t be a great marketing agency without a really strong creative department and Dave has delivered that. He leads from the front, with a natural passion for design which means you know he’ll always give 100% to anything he works on. Dave commits! Culturally, Dave is very easy to work with and great to have around. He always speaks his mind as a senior team member, but always in a very balanced and consultative way. He’s also good fun and people enjoy being around him, which is crucial for a management team member.
– Pete Hendrick; MD at Octopus Group (Publicis Groupe UK)