Tom O’Donnell

Tom O’Donnell

Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson London
London, United Kingdom

About me

After bring rejected by Leicester City FC as a teenager Tom moved to London to seek his fortune.

Originally working in film art departments (and some lovely pubs) Tom went on to be an Art Director for films, commercials and music videos. Tom was Graphic Designer on Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and worked under Production Designer Eve Mavrakis on Tube Tales (1999) as well as designing videos for such late nineties greats as Westlife and Steps.

After winning a pitch to design the GQ Men of the Year Awards in 2001, Tom moved into event design and later production at Timebased. As Head of Events at Timebased for five years Tom oversaw the company’s key client accounts of Condé Nast, Selfridges and L'Oreal.

In 2006 Tom set-up his own company, a dedicated event division of award-winning brand architects FreeState called Clean Slate. Clean Slate offered a new agency model with a focus on open accounting and strong environmental credentials. Clients included MTV, Channel 4, Ford, French Connection, Sony, SpinVox, Virgin Megastores and The Guardian.

A freelance creative, producer and consultant from 2010 to 2014, Tom has worked globally for some of London’s leading brand experience agencies such as RPM, BD Network, FreeState, Ogilvy, Slice, Amplify, Innovision and Jack Morton.

After leading the team on the Shell #makethefuture Rio project, Tom joined J. Walter Thompson full-time as a member of the board in 2014. In the last three years, JWT have won over 60 industry awards - the agency’s first ever awards for experiential.

Tom now plays football in the West London Musician’s League Division Three. He does not play an instrument.

Positions

Creative Director, JWT Live / Board Event Director, JWT
London, United Kingdom
June 2014 - Present (5 years 6 months)
Tom is Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson, having joined the company as Board Event Director in 2014. He is responsible for the creative output of J. Walter Thompson’s specialist events and experiential arm, JWT Live.

Project highlights include building a football pitch powered by footsteps in a Rio favela, the creation of 1km sound installation at London’s Gatwick Airport and the development and launch of GravityLight, an innovative product that can create energy from a bag of stones.

Since joining, JWT have won over 60 industry awards - the agency’s first ever awards for experiential. In 2015, JWT Live were the most awarded event team in the UK. The honours included 14 golds and the Grand Prix at both the Event Awards and the EVCOM Awards. In 2016, HSBC's 'A Living River' won 20 awards including a Yellow Pencil at the D&AD Awards, Golds for 'Brand Experience' and 'Use of Technology' at the EVCOM Live Awards. The project also saw JWT Live winning the Platinum Grand Prix at the EVCOM Live Awards for the second year running.

So far in 2017 Shell’s GravityLight project has picked up a White Pencil at D&AD Impact, two Golds at the Clio Awards and three Bronze Lions at Cannes as well as 2 Golds at the EVCOM Awards.

Projects:

'GravityLight' product launch and 50 night tour of Kenya for Shell, 2016
Kit Kat 'Crossy Road For Real' - a low budget film that became the third biggest YouTube ad of 2016
HSBC ‘A Living River’ interactive sound installation, Gatwick Airport, London 2015
Penfolds 'Mastery Decoded' at Somerset House, London 2015
Shell #makethefuture Lagos, permanent kinetic sports installation, Lagos, 2015
Shell #makethefuture Rio, permanent kinetic sports installation, Rio de Janeiro, 2014
Project Director (Freelance)
London, United Kingdom
January 2014 - June 2014 (5 months)
A freelance position for a project that launched Chevrolet's global "Power of Play" initiative with Manchester United Football Club. As part of Chevrolet's new shirt sponsorship deal, the brand created a series of new football pitches around the world - all launched by Manchester United legends. Tom lead the team on pitches built in Indonesia, South Africa and the USA.

Projects:

Chevrolet 'Power of Play' - permanent football pitch in Bandung, Indonesia 2014
Chevrolet 'Power of Play' - pop-up football pitch on Gangland borders in Chicago, USA 2014
Chevrolet 'Power of Play' - permanent football pitch in Pretoria, South Africa 2014
Creative Director
Freelance
United Kingdom
January 2010 - May 2014 (4 years 4 months)
Tom went freelance in 2010, working with leading agencies such as RPM, BD Network, FreeState, Ogilvy, Slice, Amplify, JWT, Innovision and Jack Morton as well as producing events and experiences directly for clients such as MTV, Bjorn Borg and Ford under his own label.

Project highlights include:

Bjorn Borg, Weapons of Mass Seduction fashion event, London, 2013
MTV Staying Alive, 15th anniversary party, 2013
MTV Voices, party - European Music Awards, Frankfurt, 2012
Ford, Centenary touring exhibition - UK wide, 2011
Nierka, music/dance/digital performance, London, 2012 (for Satore Studio)
MTV Voices, launch, European Music Awards, Belfast, 2011
MTV, Bill Roedy leaving party, 2011
Project Director (Freelance)
London, United Kingdom
January 2012 - September 2012 (8 months)
A freelance position for Innovision in Olympic year. The project involved the creation of Casa Brasil at Somerset House, home of the Rio 2016 Olympic Organising Committee for London 2012.

Casa Brasil hosted a wide range of over 80 events during the Olympics and Paralympic Games as well as an interactive exhibition for Rio 2016 in the Embankment Galleries.

During Tom's nine months at Innovision he was also Project Director for Chelsea Football Club's parade, following their successful Champions League and F.A. Cup victories. The event was attended by over 200,000 fans on the streets of west London.

Projects:

Casa Brasil, Somerset House, London Olympics and Paralympics, 2012
Chelsea FC, Champions League victory parade, 2012
Creative Director, Clean Slate
FreeState Ltd
United Kingdom
2006 - 2010 (4 years)

Tom left Timebased to set up a new event division of brand architects, FreeState.

Clean Slate offered a new agency model with a focus on open accounting and strong environmental credentials, showing it's clients how much money it was making whilst offering creative, sustainable solutions and production processes.

Clients included MTV, Channel 4, Ford, French Connection, Sony, SpinVox, Virgin Megastores and The Guardian.

Key projects include:

Sony at IFA, exhibition, Berlin, 2008/2009/2010/2011
Sony Tablet Launch, IFA, Berlin, 2011
Sony Europe Press Conference, Berlin, Germany - 2008/2009/2010/2011
SpinVox, exhibition stand, CTIA Wireless, Las Vegas, USA, 2009
MTV, European Music Awards, Staying Alive dinner, Berlin, 2009
Proud Gallery, launch party, London, 2008
Sony Vaio and Sony Walkman, launch events, London, 2008
Sony PlayStation 3, launch, London, 2008
BAA, Heathrow Terminal Five, airside christmas illuminations, London, 2008
Sony Walkman, ‘Spring Fling’, London, 2008
Ford Focus, “Music on the Move”, UK wide, 2008
Ted Baker, fashion show, London, 2008
MTV, European Music Awards, Staying Alive dinner, Liverpool, 2008
Blyk / Vice Magazine, Unitaur, 9 cities around the UK, 2007
Channel 4, 25th anniversary party, London, 2007
SpinVox, global launch events, various cities in the UK, USA and Canada, 2007
Aminaka Wilmont, London Fashion Week, 2007
Virgin Megastores / Kerrang! Day of Rock, 2007
French Connection, fashion shows and press events, London, 2007/2008
Project Director (Freelance)
RPM
London, United Kingdom
January 2010 - September 2010 (8 months)
A freelance postion at RPM for Sky. The project involved the creation of a new, permanent 5m brand experience at Europe's busiest music venue, The O2.

The nine-month project included the creation of a 750 capacity 'Sky Backstage' bar and a new 'Sky Gallery' innovations showcase at the main entrance of the complex.
Head of Events
Timebased Events
United Kingdom
2002 - 2007 (5 years)
Tom moved into events when he won a pitch as a freelancer to design the GQ Men of the Year Awards for Timebased in 2001.

Tom went on to become Timebased's full-time Head of Events and was responsible for the main client accounts, designing and producing events for General Motors, L'Oreal, Selfridges and Condé Nast.

Project highlights include:

GQ 10th Anniversary Party, London 2006
Easy Living, magazine launch
Conde Nast Agency Party, London 2002/2003/2004/2005/2006
Glamour Women of the Year Awards, London 2004/2005/2006
GQ Men of The Year Awards, London, 2002/2003/2004/2005/2006
Conde Nast Traveller Awards, London 2003/2004/2005/2006
The Product of the Year Awards, London, 2005/2006
The Q Awards, London, 2006
Vauxhall Corsa, world premiere, Old Billingsgate, London - June 2006
Time Out Eating and Drinking Awards, London, 2003/2004/2005
GQ Style, magazine launch’ London 2005
The Empire Film Awards, 25th Anniversary, London, 2005
The Times London Film Festival, opening party, 2004
The Orange Prize for Fiction, London, 2004
Chelsea FC, centenary dinner, London, 2004
Calvin Klein, Euphoria fragrance launch, London, 2005
Viktor & Rolf, Flowerbomb fragrance launch, London, 2004
Selfridges, Birmingham, store launch, 2004
Selfridges, Brasil 40 ̇in-store promotion, 2004
Selfridges, car park cinema, London, 2004
Biotherm, UK brand launch, London, 2004
Eley Kishimoto, Boots No7 brand launch, London, 2004
Georgio Armani, Black Code fragrance launch, London, 2004
Selfridges, Bodycraze’ in-store promotion, London, 2003
Selfridges, ‘Feast’ in-store Christmas promotion, UK wide, 2003
Selfridges, Exchange Square and Trafford Centre launches, Manchester
Time Out Theatre Awards, London, 2003
Love Kylie, UK brand launch, London, 2003
Saachi Gallery, opening party, County Hall, London, 2003
Ralph Lauren, Blue fragrance launch, London, 2003
Rocawear, UK brand launch, London, 2003
Warner Brothers, various launch events including Titanic & Shrek 2001
Art Director / Assistant Art Director (for film)
Freelance
United Kingdom
1998 - 2003 (5 years)
Selected music videos credits - 2000 to 2003

Art Director / Assistant Art Director, numerous promos for acts such as Westlife, Elbow, Nick Cave, Steps and Shania Twain.

Selected commercials credits - 2000 to 2003

Art Director / Assistant Art Director, numerous brands including Henson, Hallmark, BT, British Gas, Amoy, HP Sauce and Gillette.

Selected film credits - 1998 to 2002

Graphic Designer - Bend it Like Beckham, 2002, Dir: Gurinder Chanda
Art Dept Assistant - Gypsy Woman, 2001, Dir: Sheree Folkson
Art Dept Assistant - Crust, 2001, Dir: Mark Locke
Art Dept Runner - Tube Tales, 1999, Dirs: Gaby Dellal, Stephen Hopkins, Bob Hoskins, Menhaj Huda, Armando Iannucci, Jude Law, Amy Jenkins, Charles McDougall, Ewan McGregor

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