How come?

It's Chrissie Lahood’s fault I became a copywriter.

She wrote the very first long copy press ad that I ever read. By the last word, I knew I wanted to write like that.

Four years later I was lucky to have her become my ECD at Y&R Wellington. She inspired me to write copy with the common touch, words that people might actually enjoy reading, words that could grant life to an intangible brand.

But, copy that can drive people directly to action – now, that would come from my first ECD in the UK – Steve Harrison at [Harrison Troughton] Wunderman.

He entrusted a young wet-behind-the-ears Kiwi with my first truly global brands: IBM, Jaguar, and Vodafone.

Because Steve’s name sat above the door, he approached every client problem with equal importance and showed they were all equally full of creative potential. Steve made sure it was a creative’s business to get to know the client’s. To understand strategy and to get as far upstream as possible to the real business problem. That’s still where I find myself at my best.

His agency also showed me the transformative power of creative and effectiveness awards – both for client commercial success and for your career. (It was here that I won my first Lion.)

This game is a constant journey. And I’ve had the pleasure of stopping off at many of London’s other top shops – Craik JonesOgilvyPartners Andrews Aldridge – to try and fill my mind with what makes their successful teams tick. I filled my book too, with many great brands like Land RoverShell, VirginVolkswagen and Orange.

I’ve also learned a lot from brands whose logos you’ll never find adorning T-shirts. TV Licensing and RNLI, for example, introduced me to the power of marrying smart data with behavioural economics. I saw how the right people could be hugely influenced by the smallest of positive nudges.

I’ve regularly attended events like SXSW and Most Contagious. And people like Chris AndersonElon Musk and Rory Sutherland continue to fuel my passion for technology, innovation and better understanding consumer behaviour. A true passion for my job, though, came from a truly inspiring client.

Catherine Kehoe of Lloyds tasked Proximity with the UK’s largest ever rebrand, and me personally with properly upping my game. Her incredible leadership inspired me to deliver the biggest project of my career and to start leading other creatives to do their best work for her brands.

My own best creative work has been leading the successful campaign for The Economist – ensuring the work lived up to the intellectual legacy laid down by my creative hero David Abbott.


Oliver London

Executive Creative Director from April 2017


Fellow from June 2017

Proximity London 2008-2017

Creative Director from January 2014 –

  • Creative direction, conceptual origination and client & strategic leadership across Proximity’s largest group of accounts: Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, RNLI, The Economist, TV Licensing and new business.
  • Number two to the ECD, John Treacy, with a department of 30 creatives and 20 designers.
  • Leading and championing the agency’s most creatively-awarded accounts, contributing to Campaign naming Proximity as Agency of the Year 2015.
  • New product and technology platform development
  • Natural business growth
  • Co-leadership of the industry’s largest ever new business pitch for BT & EE – going from the longest long list in London, down to the final two.

Creative Director, Lloyds Banking Group from July 2012 –

  • Creative leadership of a team of 12 creatives and designers.
  • Key project was the 2013 Lloyds Bank rebrand and launch.

Creative Partner from Nov 2008 –

  • Brand responsibility for Royal Mail, Wrigley, Shell, Aviva, Lloyds TSB
  • New business pitch wins included Aviva, Lloyds TSB,  
  • Partnered with Jo Jenkins 2010-12

Graeme Robertson Trust 2014-

Trustee. I've certainly enjoyed some lucky breaks in my career, so I know how important it is to give something back. I volunteer my time with the GRT – the charity of the DMA and IDM. Its sole aim is to help give young creatives their big break into our industry. It includes events like the Big Book Crit, as well as the annual Breakthrough Award.

Craik Jones 2007-2008

Brand Guardian (partnered with Tony Clements – yes, that’s 3 Tonys in a row)

Freelance 2006-2007

Archibald Ingle Stretton, Partners Andrews Aldridge, OgilvyOne, Elvis

Career break – traveling the world 2005-2006

Craik Jones 2004-2005

Senior Copywriter (partnered with Anthony Cliff)

Harrison Troughton Wunderman 2002-2004

Copywriter (partnered with Tony Haigh)

Y&R Wellington 1999-2001

Copywriter (partnered with Tony Haigh)

Grey Advertising Wellington 1999

Copywriter (partnered with Tony Haigh). My first proper job. Essentially, a start-up. There were 6 of us. We lasted 6 months.

Ogilvy&Mather Wellington 1998

Placement copywriter



Victoria University of Wellington 1995-1999

Bachelor’s Degree in Design
[Advertising & Design]

Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce and Administration

NZ Axis Advertising Ideas School 1998

Joint winner with Tony Haigh

BBDO University Oct 2010

Creative Leadership Course

The MAA Future Leaders Academy 2014



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