Emotive's Darren Wright on the indie agency's ambitions

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 28 September 2023
Darren Wright.

After six years at Clemenger BBDO – with the last three spent as joint executive creative director – Darren Wright recently joined Emotive as the agency’s first group creative director.

Wright said there were three reasons he came onboard to the indie agency: the people, the energy and the clients.

“I've known SJ [Simon Joyce, founder of Emotive] for a few years. His ambition and enthusiasm is super infectious; you can't help but have a conversation with him and really want to start jumping into it,” he said.

“I then met Hoggy [Michael Hogg, managing partner and head of strategy at Emotive] and he's got to be one of the smartest creative planners I've ever worked with. He's a joy to sit down with and talk to about the work and the problems we're trying to solve

“The rest of the crew are interesting, talented people who genuinely do care about each other and the work they do immensely. It's massively important for me to make sure there are a good bunch of people all with the same objective, then when you combine that with the great clients and brands that we have at Emotive, you genuinely get a really exciting agency to be at.

Wright said the cultural ambition of Emotive is to be the best place to work and to do the best work of your lives. 

“I just want to help that become a reality, to truly help make Emotive a creative company that people are excited to work at and more importantly, doing the work that people get excited by and are interested in” Wright told AdNews.

“When I say people, it’s the punters out on the street who we're talking to, it’s our industry peers, it's our clients, it's prospective clients - we want to be making work that everyone takes notice of and goes, ‘that's good, that's interesting, that's different’.”

Wright has over 20 years' experience, having cut his teeth in London at Wieden + Kennedy where he spent nearly 10 years working across Nike, Nokia, Honda and The Guardian before becoming CD on Nike. He then moved to Grey London where he was CD on the Lucozade, McVities, Vodafone and GSK accounts.

With a move to Australia in 2017, Wright joined Clemenger BBDO Sydney.

He said the transition to a group creative director role – the first in Emotive’s history – has been fairly seamless, and that when he started in creative director roles years ago at Wieden, through to Grey, Clemenger and now Emotive, he’s always been somebody who's really excited by ideas and different-shaped work. 

“Somebody once said to me that as you get promoted and get titles, you get further away from the work - I never wanted to do that, I always wanted to be involved with the work,” he said.

“That's why I got into advertising in the first place. I've now got the privilege to help other people bring their ideas to life. And with the senior structure in Emotive, I get to collaborate with some very talented CDs and teams. Then we work together with clients to get the best work out into the world that we can, so it's all about the ideas for me still.” 

Wright said that Emotive have a client list that any agency would be envious of – the likes of Google, Optus, Audible, Seven, NRL, Pernod Ricard and more.

“They're genuinely big brands and household names; they’re brands that can make a difference out there and do interesting stuff,” Wright told AdNews.

“Most importantly to me, they've all got very different business problems and briefs that need different types of ideas and thinking to help solve them."

Looking ahead to next year, Wright said that part of doing great creative work is to help the agency grow.

“If we can do great work that attracts more clients to do more great work, that's the dream,” he said. 

“We're far more agile [than other agencies], we've got far less layers and then the people inside the building, they're all super smart in their own disciplines and are all super hungry to do even better work than we already are. 

“We’ve had some brilliant successes over the past 12 months, we’ve got great momentum and I feel like we can keep growing and going from strength to strength. It’s a very exciting time to be at Emotive.”

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