Design Indaba Profile

#DesignIndaba2019: David Droga announced as speaker

Advertising genius, superstar, maverick, god - these are just a few of the words used to describe David Droga in many articles scattered across the internet and with good reason.
David Droga © Droga5 website.

Droga was only 18 years old when he started working in the mail room at Grey's advertising agency in Sydney. Not long after, at age 22, Droga became the creative director of advertising agency, Omon Sydney. Then, at 29, he moved to Singapore to become executive creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore and regional creative director of Saatchi Asia. Three years later he became the executive creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi London and at 35, the first-ever worldwide creative director of the entire Publicis network.

Quitting the job that no one else would quit

Droga said in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald that at that point he was meant to be overseeing 170 offices. "I had the corner office, the salary, all the trappings." But feeling restless and distanced from the creative work that is his passion, he decided to quit his job. He remembers thinking:
I'm going to quit a job that no one else would quit, because I want to test myself. And the real test is whether you can start something from scratch.
Three years after starting at Publicis, in 2006, Droga launched his own agency, Droga5 with no accounts and a staff of seven. Today, this agency's New York office employs close to 300 people, and it also has branches in Sydney and London.

Some of the Droga5's most noticeable work includes campaigns for The New York Times, Marc Ecko, Newcastle Brown Ale, Android and Under Armour. The agency has been one of Ad Age’s Agency A-list honorees for seven years running (2010–2017) and according to Crain’s New York Business, one of the 50 fastest growing companies in New York City in 2016. Droga5 also won the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity’s Independent Agency of the Year Award in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Most awarded creative

To date, Droga is the most awarded creative at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and in 2013 he was the youngest person inducted into the New York Art Directors Club Hall of the Fame. In 2017, Adweek named him one of the top 100 most influential leaders in marketing, media and technology for the third year in a row and he received the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity's Lion of St. Mark, the festival's award for outstanding contribution to the creative industry.
"When your peers think you are great, you are good. When you do good for people who don’t know you, then you are great." — David Droga
Caring is out of scope - do the right thing

I was really excited to learn that I would be hearing David Droga, founder of Droga5, making the keynote talk at the One Show Creative Week seminar, and with good reason...

By Ann Nurock 17 May 2016

What's next? Well, during an interview at Cannes Lions 2017, covered by MediaPost, he was asked what his biggest post-advertising career ambition was and the Aussie native said: "One day when I have advertising out of my system, I want to be Prime Minister of Australia."

In the meantime, you can catch this living legend at the 2019 Design Indaba where he will be sharing his vast experience and know-how with South African audiences. Follow our Design Indaba special section for any updates on the 2019 Design Indaba, for which tickets are already on sale.

#DesignIndaba2019: Ticket sales are open!

Ticket sales are now open for Design Indaba 2019 and here's all you need to know, from dates to discounts, speakers and more...

10 Jul 2018

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About Juanita Pienaar

Juanita Pienaar is an editorial assistant for the Marketing & Media news portal at and is also a contributing writer.