The Work That Made Me in association withLBB

The Work That Made Me: Freddie Powell

Music & Sound
London, UK
The copywriter-turned-art-director and now co-founder of production company, DROOL, tells LBB which ‘90s ads exude cool and why creative referencing can be a source of insecurity

The best way to understand a person’s career is to look at the work that made them. Their first campaign. The campaign that someone else created and that made them jealous. The campaign that taught them some painful but useful lessons. The work that they’re proudest of. 

Freddie Powell is the award-winning copywriter-turned-art-director who spent 12 years at Wieden + Kennedy, before recently co-founding a production company, DROOL, with Genevieve Sheppard. He’s worked on some of the biggest and most iconic campaigns today, including Nike’s Write the Future, Three’s The Pony, and Deliveroo’s Garlic vs Lemon. He credits the years he spent working in America with giving him an international perspective that he now applies to his projects. At DROOL, he’s a full-time director helping “push other creative's work to be the absolute best it can be.”

LBB> Tell us a little bit about your career journey – how did you get into the industry? Was this always the plan?

Freddie> I loved painting, drawing and composition. So I went to study graphic design. But the designers were all a bit weird and loved kerning, and the advertising people seemed like a proper laugh. So I went after that and it was indeed a lot of fun. I thought I was a multi-disciplined-do-it-all-creative until I moved to America and realised I was shit at copywriting (because they’re all so good at it over there). So I came back as an art director. But my favourite bit of the process was always executing and producing ideas so I was like, ‘maybe I’m a director!?’ So now I’m a director. 

LBB> The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

Freddie> All the cigarette ads from the ‘90s. Just a master class in cool-as-hell imagery. They weren’t following research or strategy to try to be cool… they just were cool.

LBB> The creative work that I keep revisiting…

Freddie> Back when I worked in an agency I’d have said the Lego Movie and Red Bull Stratos. If they’d have entered those into our bizarre award system they’d have absolutely cleaned up and made us all look like idiots. I love it when we all get a reality check.

LBB> The piece of work that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

Freddie> There is no specific piece of work. But this question taps into an insecurity of mine - I’m terrified of familiarity and unoriginality yet I find myself referencing ads all the time. Probably because I spent so long looking at them. I hate that about myself and I’m trying to fix it.


LBB> The piece of work that still makes me jealous…

Freddie> Everything Dougal Wilson ever touched.


LBB> The creative project that changed my career…

Freddie> 'Food. We get it.' for Deliveroo was my first major foray into directing and the moment I realised I wanted to do nothing else but that for the rest of my career. It was sheer heaven and a buzz I crave constantly. I owe Pablo (the agency) a lot for putting their trust in me.

LBB> The work that I’m proudest of…

Freddie> As a creative, it has to be Nike’s Write the Future. More recently I’m most proud of starting DROOL productions and making my own way into directing off my own back (with the amazing Genevieve Sheppard)

LBB> I was involved in this, and it makes me cringe…

Freddie> I’ve tried hard to bury this for years so there’s no way in hell I’m answering this.

LBB> The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

Freddie> I recently shot a Desperados commercial in Cape Town with We Are Pi. It excited me because it was just a big, dumb, fun spot. But more so because I’d been locked up for two years during covid, so I felt so damn alive just to be out of the country and doing what I love in another part of the world.

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