Creativity Squared in association withPeople on LBB
Creativity Squared: Tom Daley
Advertising Agency
Los Angeles, USA
Quigley's senior copywriter on the importance of routine, putting pen to paper and approaching the world with an open mind

Tom Daley is the senior copywriter at Quigley, a fully-integrated brand performance agency uniting brand and demand-based in Los Angeles, California.


LBB> How would you describe your personality? 

Tom> Silly. Curious. Very literal. More interested in questions than explanations. 

LBB> How do you like to see the world? 

Tom> I like to approach the world with an open mind, find out what other people think, and then try to figure out why they think that. 

LBB> Do you think creativity is something that’s innate or something that you learn – why? 

Tom> Creativity is innate because it’s of the body and of the unconscious. 

LBB> Would you consider yourself an introvert or extravert – or something else? Why? 

Tom> Outgoing Introvert. I like being by myself, I like small groups, and I like big crowds where I can be anonymous. 

LBB> How do you feel about routine? 

Tom> Routine is very important to me. It builds discipline. It’s how I get myself to do the little things I don’t want to do in order to achieve the big things I want to accomplish. 

LBB> When it comes to creative ‘stuff’ that you enjoy, do you like things that are similar to the work you do, or do you enjoy exploring? 

Tom> If I see something I feel like I could have come up with, I generally avoid it. It would be a waste of time. I prefer to expose myself to new ideas or learn something. 


LBB> How do you assess whether an idea or a piece of work is truly creative? What are your criteria? 

Creative work should feel like it’s opened a new room in your brain. My criteria: Is it unexpected? Is it true? Creativity lives in the tension between those two. 

LBB> Has that criteria shifted or evolved over the years? 

Tom> No. In the same way that creativity is innate, the ability to recognise it is too. I’ve just gotten better at describing why something is or isn’t.

LBB> What creative campaigns are your proudest of and why? 

Tom> I’m proudest of the campaign I’m working on right now because it incorporates something I’m passionate about (surfing), while also showcasing and supporting a powerful collaboration for our client. 


LBB> How do you like to start a campaign or creative project? 

Tom> I start by writing taglines, a bunch of them. I write until I find something interesting, something with a twist in it. Then figure out what it means. That’s my concept. 

LBB> Are there any tools or platforms (analogue or digital) that you find particularly helpful for gathering or iterating ideas? 

Tom> Pen and paper. Getting my hand moving gets my brain moving. 

LBB> Do you like to start every project as a blank sheet or are you constantly collecting possible inspiration or references for future projects? 

Tom> I don’t think anybody starts anything as a blank sheet, you’re always going to draw from what you’ve been exposed to. That said, I don’t keep a folder of inspiration. I trust that if there’s something relevant worth remembering I’ll remember it. 

LBB> Do you prefer to work collaboratively or alone? 

Tom> It’s always a combination of both for me. I prefer to think and write alone, but I need to see another’s reaction to gauge what’s working or not. Likewise, many of my best ideas come from responding to other people’s thinking. 

LBB> When it comes to the hard bits of a project when you’re stumped, do you have a process or something you like to do for getting past those tricky bits? 

Tom> I make up my mind to figure it out, then go for a walk. It’s all about taking my hands off the wheel and trusting my brain to sort things. 

LBB> How do you know when a piece of work is ‘done’? 

Tom> Nothing is ever done, you just run out of time. The trick is knowing when you’re out of time, which is not the same thing as a deadline, and being able to step back. 


LBB> Where did you grow up and what early experiences do you think sowed the seeds of your creativity?

Tom> I grew up in the burbs of Richmond, VA, and was fortunate to have two witty parents who instilled in me a love of language and got me watching Jeopardy! at an early age. 

LBB> How did you hone your craft? 

Tom> Pre-pandemic I got into doing stand up and I credit that with making me better at writing, receiving criticism, and trusting my creative instincts. 

LBB> When it comes to your own creativity, what external factors can really help you fly, and what do you find frustrates it?

Tom> I do my best work when I know I’ll be presenting it to an audience. If I can think of something like a performance then I’m able to completely commit. 

LBB> How do you think agencies can best facilitate creativity in terms of culture and design? 

Tom> To facilitate creativity agencies should embrace the idea that time spent away from your computer is not necessarily unproductive time.

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