Mark Black. Freelance CD - London

I've worked in all areas from ATL to digital, experiential, PR, DM and design over the last 15 years. I never really cared what I did as long as I enjoyed doing it. I started out as an art director, but for me it was always about being an all round creative that excited me using any media channel in interesting ways.

Previously... I’ve worked in Belfast, where I learned (thanks to my first CD and grabbing every brief going) that if you want to make something good you can. You just have to f**king graft. Dublin, where I worked in one of the most forward thinking networks in the world, TBWA (before it went a bit pony), I loved it, clients weren't ready for it. I went on to be CD of an agency that was small, exciting, but ruined by ego (not mine). I moved to London where I was an ACD at Dare the 'Digital Agency of the Decade’ (before that merged, AKA went a bit pony) and then got a job off Dave Dye at DHM. DHM became Hello People and through bad luck really it never got going and closed in 2014 (yes pony again). This forced me to venture in to the world of freelance which I enjoyed, you get to see life inside other agencies. I got to see inside the likes of Harriman Steel, CommunicatorFabula, Mother, Naked, and Rapier. I did two stints as acting CD at the last two, overseeing the output of the creative department which was an interesting, valuable, unpredictable experience.

Most recently I was ECD at +rehabstudio, where I headed up the creative department. I was brought in to help it move from digital production to an agency that worked directly with it’s own clients (Google, FaceBook, Jimmy Choo, Pernod Ricard, Diageo). Bringing experience on how to get clients to understand and buy ideas, to help ensure we are pushing not just the creative, but also the capabilities of technology whilst ensure that it’s the right solution for the end consumer.

I think it’s natural as you get more experience you get more excited as to how you tackle a problem, the bigger picture, rather than just an execution, coming to an idea that you think would make a difference, that would actually work. And that is where I am now. I love being an 'adman' I love the craft and thinking of great advertising, but I also love technology and how we can play with it, do amazing things with it, that punters think is smart / useful / entertaining and works hard for clients. 

For my department at +rehab I had a simple set of rules for the work:

Work that’s smart, original, simple, brave and scary.
That makes the industry go: “F**k. I wish we’d done that”
That people in the street don’t see as ‘advertising bullshit’.
And, above all, that we’re genuinely proud and protective of.

On here you’ll see some work that ran, and some that didn’t. I make no apologies for having the latter, it's what I thought was right even if a focus group in Hull didn't.

Currently available for freelance.


Hey, don't take my word for it - here's what some of the people I've worked for think:

'Freelancers. What a nightmare. You hand over the cash with absolutely no guarantee you’ll get anything back. Sure you’ll get paper, some bad drawing and an assortment of words written down, but nothing remotely useful, nothing to justify to the Finance Director or Client the cost of this extra resource. My approach has always been get the cheapest or most expensive Creatives. Cheapest: Very inexperienced but guaranteed to produce a big pile of paper. Most expensive, (sometimes crazy expensive): Ex-ECD’s or Agency Founders should guarantee a good solution that matches the brief, produced quickly. Mark is an anomaly. Big piles of of paper, on brief, mostly good, not 'crazy expensive’. ' If anyone would like to know more about Mark, my number is 0771 406 8974.'

Dave Dye (Head of Art JWT London, founder DHM, Hello People & CDD)

'Mark is an exceptional creative. He is a hugely talented art director, an equally capable Creative Director and a highly original thinker. He has a brilliant advertising mind, which always conceives of fresh new ideas that are always much bigger than the media they are intended for. He is also one of the most likeable and unpretentious people in advertising. Mark was a huge asset when he was at Dare, and was always everyone's first choice of creative to work on briefs. He would without question be my first port of call for any freelance.'

Brian Cooper (Creative Partner at Dare)

'Mark is like a shot in the arm for your brief/Creative development. If you need to get things moving and have lots to think about Mark Black is always a good idea.'

Luke Williamson (Founding Partner at Fabula London, ECD WCRS, one half of Yan & Luke)

'Mark is one of advertising's nice guys, which some people might argue isn't a strong point for a creative director, but I very much think it is. Especially when the rest of the package is of such high quality. Mark brings great ideas, a solid approach to craft and a willingness to work f@@king hard to the table - he's a pleasure to work with and an asset to any creative business. I'd hire him, work with him or go to the pub with him in a shot - each option being as equally low risk and enjoyable as the other.'

Paul Ward (Chief creative operation officer - Naked (former) / Havas)


Some of the clients I’ve work with:

The Sun, BT, Jameson, Nike, OVO, Adidas,, eBay, PaddyPower, Nescafe, PSNI, Facebook, BMW, Danone, Virgin Atlantic, PlayStation, EA Games, Bacardi, Martini, McDonald’s, Sainsbury's, Barclays, Barclaycard, Google, Adnams,, Hastings Hotels, EA Games. 

Some of the pitches I’ve worked on:

PSNI,, Regus, Nescafe, BMW, Heineken, Pure Leaf, Learn Direct, OVO, Good Energy, Beagle Street, Which?, Adidas, Smithwicks, Kopparberg,, Bacardi, PAX, H&M,, BBC, Ronseal, eBay, Nike, Absolut Vodka, Warner Music, Google, Coke, PaddyPower, Listerine, Jacobs, Lanson, EA Games, Premier Cruises, Facebook, Dewars, Feel Unique.

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