Tim Delaney’s Transformative Thinking
by Tim Delaney
A very exciting time for Leagas Delaney Shanghai. Please take a look at the following article recently printed by China Advertising Magazine that takes a look at our chairman Tim Delaney, giving an insight into his career, award winning campaign inspiration & his advice to young entrepreneurs.
For our visitors who wish to read the full article in Mandarin please download the PDF version using the following link:
Legendary British adman Tim Delaney is renowned around the world for his copywriting and campaign creative genius. Recently, he shared his expertise in Shanghai, speaking at an event on “What is Transformative Thinking?”
Chances are, you’ve seen some of his famous campaigns for his stable of high-profile clients such as Patek Philippe, Penfolds, Adidas, Timberland, Pictet, Li-Ning and the world’s most expensive superyacht.
These campaigns have won him a host of awards at all the major competitions, notably Britain’s D&AD, America’s One Show, and the Cannes Festival.
Delaney has also received the British Television Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his contribution to the communications industry, and has been inducted into the One Show Advertising Hall of Fame in the US in 2007 and Campaign’s British Advertising Hall of Fame in 2008.
After leaving school at 15, Delaney wanted to apply for a job as a hotel bellhop, but his mother convinced him to apply for a job as a mailroom boy at an ad agency. Turns out mum was right. It didn’t take long for the agency to find out that the kid in the mailroom had a knack for writing copy, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Delaney worked as a copywriter at Y&R and BMP before joining BBDO, the Omnicom owned agency, in London, where he became creative director at 27 and managing director at 31.
In 1980, he founded Leagas Delaney in London; the group now has additional offices in Los Angeles, Milan, Hamburg, and Shanghai. He remains a working copywriter at the agency.
So where does he get inspiration for his award-winning campaigns?
“I read a lot,” Delaney says with a grin. “I have a very wide range of interests and am very open-minded.”
A successful ad, he says, is one that people find both clever and relevant, and his classic Adidas ad campaign is an excellent example. In 2000, Delaney and his team created the “Runners, Yeah, We’re different” ads, targeting the serious runner, which won acclaim in the advertising world and perhaps more importantly boosted the client’s running shoe sales and eventually helped Adidas expand internationally.
“At that time Adidas was on a downward trajectory,” he recalls. “I am very happy to have been involved in its rebirth.”
The Shanghai office of Leagas Delaney was launched in 2010, and as brands here seek more personal relationships in their quest for smart and creative solutions, Delaney sees opportunity.
Against the backdrop of a thriving creative industry and economy, Delaney offers the following advice to young entrepreneurs in the creative fields — be patient, have high standards, be special, and be honest. For those considering advertising in particular, he says, “Be genuinely interested in mass communication. Be curious.”
What’s next for Tim Delaney? “Work, work, and more work. I enjoy the process of writing ideas. I am very lucky.”