Bob Isherwood

2024 Creative Hall of Fame Inductee

Worldwide Creative Director,
ONE School Co-Founder, & Professor

Bob is the former Worldwide Creative Director of Saatchi & Saatchi and adjunct professor of advertising at Vanderbilt University. He is the co-founder of ONE School and advises the Creative Development Department at TOCC.



In a distinguished career in the global advertising industry, Bob Isherwood can claim many firsts: he won Australia’s first gold Lion for film and cinema at the Cannes International Advertising Festival (1985), was the first Australian to win a D&AD Black Pencil (1976), won D&AD’s first-ever Yellow pencil for Typography, given the first honorary Doctorate in Communications from RMIT (2007), appointed as the first active Worldwide Creative Director in the industry, and was the first and longest standing Dean at the Cannes Young Lion Academy (2012-2020).

He’s been inducted into the Hall of Fame for AWARD, The WORK, Clio, and Writers and Art Directors Australia. Additionally, he received the Clio Lifetime Achievement Award, was named Australia’s Top Creative Director in the Australian Financial Review, and ranked in the top 10 art directors in the world by D&AD.

With an advertising career spanning over three decades and three continents, Isherwood embodies a professional and personal tradition of creative leadership, integrity, and dedication to great ideas that make a difference. He worked for six years as a creative group head for Young & Rubicam London and 10 years with Collet Dickenson Pearce & Partners before moving back to Australia in 1982 to become a founding partner of Campaign Palace Sydney.

Isherwood joined Saatchi & Saatchi in 1986, where he spent 22 years, including 11 years as the agency’s Worldwide Creative Director, and served as chair of its Worldwide Creative Board. Under his leadership, Saatchi & Saatchi’s global network of 143 offices in 83 countries consistently ranked among the top creative agencies in the world, winning more than 8,000 major awards – including becoming the #1 creative network at the 2002 Cannes Lions Festival – for clients such as P&G and Toyota, for whom Bob served as creative director for the global launch of Toyota Prius.

The Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase was also under his purview. Along with Richard Meyers, it grew to become the most anticipated premiere at the Cannes Lions Festival, and featured directors such as Spike Jonze, Jonathan Glazer, Ellen von Unwerth, Kinka Usher, Floria Sigismondi, Mark Romanek, Michel Gondry, and Samuel Bayer.

However, the achievements Bob is most proud of have little to do with his industry success: they revolve instead around how he has used his time and talents to uplift those around him.

Coming from a difficult childhood, against all odds (and the admission rules), Isherwood was given a place at RMIT to study Advertising Art, thanks to the intervention of Victor Greenhalgh. Recognizing the life-changing impact of Greenhalgh’s decision, Bob established a scholarship program for underprivileged students at RMIT that has been granted for the past 19 years and is funded in perpetuity.

In 2006, AWARD renamed its longstanding “Encouragement Award,” recognizing those who have demonstrated an outstanding ability to answer briefs with a freshness of thought and creativity, to the Bob Isherwood Encouragement Award.

Some of the industry’s most successful global creative talent – among them, David Droga, Tony Granger, Pablo del Campo, Malcolm Poynton, Ben Nott, David Nobay, Leo Premutico, Icaro Doria, Menno Kluin, Steve Jackson, and others – are a testament to the caliber of creative talent that flourished under the care and generosity of Bob’s mentorship.

He believes passionately in the power of ideas to change the world and, appropriately, served as the driving force behind the Saatchi & Saatchi Award for World-Changing Ideas. The Award attracted judges as distinguished as Buzz Aldrin, Edward de Bono, David Byrne, Brian Eno, Danny Hillis, Baz Luhrmann, John Maeda, Lou Reed and others. Life Straw, Quantum Tunneling Composites, Concrete Canvas, Light Up The World Foundation, Frozen Ark, Plantic, Ji Li’s 3-D Alphabet, Wikipedia and Jot a Dot are among the ideas awarded that are still making an impact on the world today.

After stepping away from the industry, Isherwood shifted his focus in 2010 to educating the next generation of advertising talent by creating and teaching “Creative Advertising” at Vanderbilt University and was honored in 2014 with the Harriet Gillman Award for Excellence in Teaching.

He also co-founded Dialog Health in 2011, a two-way mobile messaging company created to improve patient satisfaction, compliance, and adherence in healthcare. Dialog Health was the first to bring two-way mobile messaging protocols to pre and post-op procedures, and continues to provide a critical connection between patients and providers.

Isherwood joined The One Club for Creativity in 2020 as the Director of Creative Development to continue to nurture and identify creative talent in the industry. It is in this role that Bob created “the best thing he’s ever done” in his career: co-founding ONE School with Oriel-Davis Lyons during the height of the George Floyd protests. ONE School is a free, online portfolio school for Black creative talent with five cohorts operating in the US and UK. The ambitious program has 224 alumni (66% of them women), boasts an 85% hire rate, and includes a free mentorship program to help applicants who were not accepted. Under Bob’s leadership, the program has been structured, operationalized, funded, and scaled over the past three years.

And if all of that isn’t enough, he is a proud father to Sophie and Dani, grandfather to Lola, plays the didgeridoo and harmonica, and was once stood up for a date because Mick Jagger nabbed the girl. He’s an accomplished sailor, having just completed sailing across the Atlantic in 2023, is currently living his best life sailing his 27-foot boat around the world, and is a true friend and creative inspiration to people as young as age six.