2018 Executive Jury Spotlight: Dick Dunford

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Dick Dunford

Executive Creative Director

2018 Executive Jury member, Dick Dunford is Executive Creative Director for TBWA\WorldHealth London. Dick brings 25 years of advertising industry experience to the jury panel. He has led creative teams at iconic advertising agencies including CDP and BBH, the global ad networks of McCann, Bates, and BBDO, and ECD roles at the integrated agency Tequila and pure play digital Agency.com. During his previous stint with TBWA, Dunford transitioned from leading Nissan, Canon, and British Airways to moving into the health space.

Bold & simple ideas that transform people’s lives are Dick’s passion. Whether he’s helping launch the world’s first 100% electric car or the ground-breaking Flash glucose monitoring system ‘Freestyle Libre’ for Abbott diabetes care, he’s determined to ensure they inspire engagement and take up.

“Solving problems from an unconventional perspective is also a passion. “The last 4 years have seen me building a successful creative strategy consultancy; challenging conventional thinking and established processes to deliver a very different client/agency dynamic - bridging the gap between management consultants and marketing services. But (and it’s a big but) the lure of ‘disruption’ and its proven ability to truly impact lives through the world’s leading brands is too big an opportunity to miss,” said Dunford. “So, I sold up and I'm back at TBWA\ - I’m very excited to be part of TBWA\WorldHealth. Be bold.”

The motto for the 2018 Global awards is FEEL Creative.  It’s about knowing your audience and empathizing to deliver top-notch communications to not only represent your client fully but make people happier and healthier. Tell us a bit about your process – do ideas just come to you, or is it a collective brainstorm with your team?  How do you FEEL Creative?

As one of the least qualified to oversee a health agency, it is all feel for me.

What do you find thrilling about the industry now that may have been different 5 years ago?

Health is big news. It is ever more important in education, innovation, motivation and importantly communication. With more interest, more opportunity and greater focus there are so many more chances to do creative thinking.

What is on the horizon for the industry in general and what do you see emerging more in the next few years?

I'm not sure we know exactly what, but I FEEL there is something that will turn things on its head. It will be technology-based and simple. I just hope they ask TBWA\WorldHealth help them launch it.

What are some of the projects that you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of and why?  Could be anything.

Launching Abbott Diabetes Care's Freestyle Libre Glucose Flash Monitoring System. An innovation that literally transforms people’s lives and gets them close to living a normal life. Conversely, Launching the world’s first 100% electric car - The Nissan Leaf - was a trigger moment in my life; suddenly creativity for a healthier world was more important to me than launching a new beer or brand of chips.

If you could work pro bono for a brand, foundation, or organization in your field who would it be and why?

If I could work with a group that wants to persuade men to go to the doctors or the pharmacist before their symptoms become a problem would be hugely worthwhile. If there is a foundation or organization that wants to make the world a kinder place, I would throw myself into that too. 

What’s your biggest challenge in working in healthcare and wellness/pharma and what do you do to overcome that challenge, both personally and as a team?

People are the biggest challenge. There is no other sector of communication that has so many highly educated and intelligent people. Keeping them motivated, engaged and inspired is my constant challenge.

Why did you choose to work in the field of healthcare and wellness advertising?  Did you fall into it or seek it out?  And what did you find when you got there that you didn’t expect.

I was a Creative Director at TBWA\ with four amazing clients under my leadership - Canon, British Airways (digital), Electrolux Global and Nissan. On a pre-launch day with Nissan in 2010, I listened to the designers talk about The LEAF (100% electric car) and they quickly started talking about the steering wheel monitoring the driver’s heartbeat, sensors monitoring their breath, body temperature, reaction times and general alertness. This all fed into the driver’s smartphone app that linked to their health apps. It dawned on me - health was where I needed to be. 

Does working at times on such emotionally-charged and taxing projects that deal with life/wellness as well as illness/death issues ever bring up strong emotions for you as a creative?  How do you remain present while still accomplishing the goals of the brand and pushing for good patient outcomes?

I set out in 2012 to do 10 things in 10 years that would make a significant impact on the health of people. I'm as determined today to achieve my goal as the day I set it.