Daniel volunteered to try and make a difference during lockdown, to help the homeless who were still on the empty streets of London. The main aim of the campaign was to drive advocates and new audiences to subscribe to digital editions and print magazines through highly-targeted video views, celebrity endorsements and vendor-based content. He worked with Positive Change agency to produce for the Big Miss You concept for theIssue and worked with their team to help Creatively guide the Players Vs Cancer challenge.
For the Big Miss You – Daniel tapped into the very real and emotional impact of being removed from the streets. It wasn’t just the lack of sales but the missing community that everyone felt. The vendors didn’t worry about themselves, they worried about their customers.
Not only that, the campaign inspired Craig David to record his own personal message and even hacked the LinkedIn update notification to get an army of virtual sellers that allowed the big issue to sell subscriptions to keep the magazine going.
Daniel also had his birthday during lockdown and donated to a charity to help others out. During lockdown he also carried out food shops for his neighbours who were in need and posted letters of positivity to all the elderly within his local area.
We met with Daniel to see how he feels about being a Sweet FA 2020 winner and to learn a little more about him.
How does it feel to be a Sweet FA 2020 winner?
It is an amazing feeling. It comes from the community and makes me extremely proud. What’s more important it gives me a chance to talk more about the Big Issue and the fantastic work they do.
It is an amazing feeling. It comes from the community and makes me extremely proud.
Why did you help raise awareness for the homeless and raise money?
When everyone began working from home, I was struck how difficult it that would be when your life is on the streets. Your job depends on community. If the streets were off limits for now, that didn’t mean the community had to go to. I wanted to show the best of creative community coming together to keep the Big Issue going.
Let's learn some more about you:
What do you do?
I’m a creative type. Mostly harmless. I’ve been an advertising and innovation creative for about ten years now working across all types of agencies and clients. I’ve created global campaigns through to helping local charities. Basically, I try and find solutions to problems.
How did you become a Creative Director?
By loving ideas. Being a Creative Director means not only loving what you create but the power of other people’s creativity and wanting to help them unlock their potential too. I found even from my early moments in my career I was interested in delivering the best solution to any given problem and that meant that working together and using the power of Creative Direction to push good to great. It was less about if I had the good idea but more about if we together could create a great idea. The key to being a Creative Director is to understand that your team is there not to deliver what’s in your head but to deliver the unexpected that you can then shape. Your role is to set the rules of the creative playground and allow them to explore, discover and surprise themselves. Then like any good teacher, use that play to grow the possibilities in front of us.
Dan is a rare individual whose deep appreciation of culture (particular web-culture) and keen understanding for what makes people tick, informs and elevates his concepting to a high degree. He is particularly talented at building and developing online communities. He's also bloody smart.
Henry Cowling, Creative Director at UNIT9
How long have you been freelancing?
Throughout my career. I’ve found it has been a great way of removing the distractions from work to focus completely on creativity. It also gave me chance to work in places and environments that I hadn’t experienced before. From directly with clients, innovation companies and tech companies that allowed me to learn as well as bring new experiences to.
Why did you decide to go freelance?
Originally it was a desire to be more in control of my working life. I was working extreme hours, missing out of all the family and friends moments, freelance gave me a way of controlling what was my working life. Over time I found that freelance not only was about the hours but also the opportunities, the community and friends that you make beyond the work. You experience new thinking all the time, from yourself and from the people you meet.
What's the best thing about freelancing?
You avoid the routine and ‘grind’ that comes from a regular full time job. Your commute is different, your challenge changes week to week. You always have that buzz of walking into a new place, meeting new people and finding new ways to solve problems.
What's the hardest thing about freelancing?
Starting out. It will take time for invoices to be paid, to build up a bank of clients that you can work with and a network of people who know you’re free for freelance. There is a lag between starting out and smashing it due to people not knowing you’re free for work. So give it time. At first it can feel frightening as you’re worried if you’ll get work but it is just a case of knowing word will get out, work will be there but you need to let people know, you need to put in the work so people are ready to help out.
What's one thing no one ever told you about freelancing you wished you'd known at the beginning?
A good backpack that you can organise, padlock for busy packed commutes and a place to organise your cable and wires. One thing you forget when you start is that you have to take everything you need with you, every day. So a good backpack makes a world of difference, having your phone charger, laptop and adapters all prepped. It makes a world of difference.
How has YJ helped you as a freelancer?
It cuts out the endless back and forth over jobs as you can see what the need is and if you fit the bill, not only that but it makes it easy for both sides to make payments and invoices work. It also means that you’re not alone. You’ve got someone who can help support the process for both parties.
Can you tell me about a project you're proud to have worked on?
It would have to be the Big Issue project I was nominated for this year. Beyond that I’ve help YouTube sell creativity and put LED lights on Sheep to entertain millions of people – I’m proud of nearly all the work I’ve done as each one was so different from the last that I felt I got to give something different to the world each time.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to become a Creative Director?
Be a teacher and be proud of your team. It is about taking your ego out of the process and using your skills to unlock the potential of others and allow others to build on your ideas and concepts. Being a Creative Director is all about making sure that you believe in the power of creativity. You’ll have people who want it on time and on budget, people who’ll want it done cheap, you’ll have people who want the idea to seem smart but you need to protect the idea, make it right for the problem and the audience. Guard it, speak for the idea and the audience. Your role is to make sure that the idea work for the client, audience and the problem and protect your team from the rest of the noise.
If a client was reading this, why should they hire you?
When working with my clients, I like to get a real understanding of their business, industry, pain points and goals. I don't just make things look great, but I make sure the project that we launch together has a clear path to solve problems and help businesses grow.
Daniel has an exceptional creative mind. He's fearless in his ambition and always strives to make work that people enjoy and engage with. He's incredibly proactive and is continuously working on interesting personal projects. I look forward to working with him again in the future.
Pete Petrella, Founding Partner @ Black Book London
Daniel is an award winning advertising and innovation creative with over 12 years experience in a wide range of agencies. He has created game-changing work for charities, launched innovative new services for a traditional high street bank. He loves solving problems and delivering work that actually stands out for his clients.
Daniel has also set up a creative community called HelloYouCreatives, as he didn't want to tell clients about connecting to communities online without doing it himself.