Dan Shute

Managing partner, Creature of London

People like dogs, don't they?

His talk will give us a glimpse behind the curtain at Creature, where they use wit and satire to make an ever-lasting change in politics.

Creature of London create imaginative work for a diverse range of clients and partners – from plays and TV ads to the much-talked about Green Party political broadcasts. Dan looks after the business side of things, and writes the occasional joke about the Tories.

Before founding Creature, Dan was account director at marketing agency glue Isobar, and the board account director at DLKW (now MLL). He’s also a founder of Le Cure de France – a charity bike ride raising money for cancer research. The charity has gained such popularity that it has its own fellowship at The Royal Marsden Hospital.

Dots Live

How breaking the rules can lead to great content

“There’s a wonderful freedom in knowing who we want to be, who we want to destroy and just getting on with it,” said Dan Shute in the third session of the Dots 2016 conference.

In an entertaining talk about working with the Green Party, Dan, managing partner at Creature of London, laid out how his company broke every traditional advertising rule to help the Green Party get noticed in an election they could never win.

Don’t work with animals

“When we asked the Green Party what they wanted to do with their next party political broadcast, one senior communications officer replied: ‘People like dogs, don’t they? Let’s do something on dogs,’” said Dan.

It was clear that the Green Party wanted to be different. For the London mayoral election, Creature was tasked with creating a party political broadcast that would engage with voters and increase awareness.

“What you need to do is get people to give a shit about politics – which is really hard to do,” said Dan.

To do that – and compete against parties that had vast war chests at their disposal – Dan and his team had to take an unconventional route. They worked collaboratively with the Green Party to work out what the problem was and how to solve it. “Sometimes sitting down with the client and working out the challenge – being there from the beginning – is key,” Dan told the Dots audience.

Breaking the rules

They had to make sure they got buy-in from all key stakeholders from the outset. Or… when every member of the Green Party wanted to have a say in how things were run, Dan’s team had this philosophy: “If you think they might make things worse, keep them as far away from the project as possible.”

When deciding whether to avoid pissing people off, or to go after everyone, really hard, Dan and his team chose the latter. They needed to get attention and going after the establishment was one way of achieving that.

“Sometimes we forget that we are here to make brilliant stuff, instead of making a tonne of money,” said Dan. “There will always be rules. Find the right people. Break them.”