Agency Experience


Gary Sharpen has worked at some of the leading advertising agencies, set up creative departments and founded his own award-winning company.

  • 1984 Starts his career as a junior copywriter at Downton Advertising, winning his first creative award
  • 1986 Moves to Ogilvy & Mather Advertising as a senior copywriter, creates work in a range of media including TV, press and posters, becoming increasingly interested in the wider possibilities of the full range of marketing opportunities – wins first copywriting award
  • 1991 Joins Saatchi & Saatchi, working extensively on both above and through-the-line projects, he is charged with setting up its first fully integrated creative department to build a completely integrated approach on all accounts and setting the creative standard. He is credited with moving the agency creatively from traditional advertising to full integration, becoming Creative Director for Integration in 1995 and a Board Member in 1996 – leading his team to numerous creative awards
  • 2000 Is invited by Leo Burnett to partner them in founding its first direct agency which is christened Leonardo. It swiftly picks up awards and gains recognition including Marketing’s Fastest Growing Small Direct Agency of 2002, short-listed by Precision Marketing for Agency of the Year 2003 (and as its Agency of the Decade three years later) and picks up the Grand Prix at the Precision Marketing Awards 2003
  • 2004 Joins WPP which leads to the formation of Sharpen Troughton Owens, becoming its founding Creative Partner and securing recognition for break-through digital creative work
  • 2008 Becomes the first Executive Creative Director of wdmp overseeing the creation of a new creative department, significant new business wins and creative awards for Habitat
  • 2011 Founds The Shelf Consultancy, realising an ambition to share a lifetime of industry experience with creative support for ambitious agencies, hungry clients and the next generation of creative talent. He also produces creative ideas for agencies and clients through The Shelf Collective – a flexible team of industry specialists. And he continues to run The Shelf Awards, his graduate programme to help new talent get into the creative industry – now in its 12th year

Sector & Brand Experience  Client breadth and depth
Other Industry Experience  Beyond the day-to-day

Recommendations  People who have worked with Gary Sharpen
The Shelf  How we deliver creative support
Creative Work  Some of our award-winning ideas
Awards  Recognition of our creative work
Press  Essays, reviews and articles
The Shelf Awards  Learn about our support for students and graduates
News & Blog  Keep up to date with The Shelf
Contact  Drop us a line to find out how we can support you