Dan Smith

As head of our advertising law team, Dan Smith helps clients to:

  • push creative boundaries, while managing legal and reputational risk
  • implement clearance programs which allow them to make the most of digital media
  • maximise the benefits of sponsorship and endorsement agreements
  • conclude media, IP and agency agreements with the minimum of fuss
  • resolve advertising disputes and regulatory investigations quickly, commercially and in a way which limits brand damage
  • challenge competitor marketing to protect market share

Compliance and contracts are often seen as an obstacle to creativity in media, advertising and sponsorship. Dan uses years of experience working with media owners, rights-holders, agencies and some of the world's biggest brands, to help smooth the process, shaping deals and clearing materials so that they meet creative and commercial objectives, while minimising risk.

Dan's in-depth knowledge of the industry and his ability to provide clear, no nonsense recommendations, within even the tightest creative or print deadlines, make him the person to call with any advertising, marketing, sponsorship or media query. One of Dan's recent articles looks at the digital battle between sponsors, rights holders and ambush marketers in sport.

Even after more than a decade, it's still a rush for me to see the things I advise on on the street or the screen or the pitch - I'm probably the only person who pauses the ads during a commercial break to re-read the small print...
It's been a huge privilege for me over the years to work with great people on some brilliant creative work, far too many to list here. I've also been lucky enough to work on projects close to my heart outside of work.


'The "very dedicated" Dan Smith... is an advertising and marketing expert and advises a stellar list of brand-side clients."
Chambers 2015

Dan was recognised in 2017's prestigious Acritas Stars database as a 'star lawyer'.


  • Watching the Mayor of London holding aloft the host city contract I advised on, at the moment London was awarded the 2012 Olympic Games
  • Advising on the organisation of my favourite festival (even if it meant turning up on the farm in a suit)
  • Helping Oxfam to successfully defend complaints about its climate change advertising
  • The day I spent advising on gravy advertising and darts sponsorship (which felt closer to my roots than anything I've done before or since).


Providing quick and commercial advice, clearance and second opinions across the board on advertising issues for clients including Unilever, Coca-Cola, Oxfam, Volkswagen Group, a Fortune 500 coffee company and one of the world's largest brewers.

Enabling clients to maximise the benefit of and successfully activate major sponsorship deals, including Olympic, World Cup, English and Italian club football, the Football Association, major new stadia, cricket, golf, motor racing, television and music festival properties and more novel sponsorship properties, such as the London Cycle Hire Scheme.

Smoothing the process of client/agency contracting through extensive experience of working with agencies and brands' legal, marketing and procurement teams to develop mutually acceptable terms, including global, EMEA and European frameworks for one of the US's big three car manufacturers, Europe's leading branded frozen food business and a household name retailer.

Successfully resolving advertising standards complaints (minimising potential brand damage) on everything from a deodorant brand's humorous take on the "mating game" to allegations that a car brand's app, which used driving style to produce bespoke music compositions, encouraged irresponsible driving.

Combining an expert understanding of digital media with regulatory knowledge and an eye for PR issues to advise on some of the most liked and retweeted social media campaigns, app development, emerging issues such as those associated with native advertising and contracting in the increasingly complex digital marketing landscape.

Using a highly practical, risk-based approach to tackle the legal issues arising from some of the world's biggest sports and music events, including advising on the host city contract for the London 2012 Olympic Games and the organisation of a world famous music festival.

Helping brands to preserve and develop market share through timely challenges to competitor marketing, including the management of a worldwide advertising dispute over 'closeness of shave' and the application for an injunction to restrain a household name retailer's Christmas comparative advertising campaign.

Assisting businesses and celebrities to maximise revenue and enhance their brands through the appropriate exploitation of their intellectual property.

Working with a trusted network to co-ordinate and streamline expert advice on advertising campaigns and promotions from multiple jurisdictions, including a car manufacturer's transatlantic code-breaking competition, European Facebook and Twitter promotions and the pan-European launch of one of the world's largest branded media companies' digital magazine products.

Condensing advertising law into practical, entertaining and informative workshop-based training for legal and marketing teams at clients including major financial services, FMCG, food and drink, retail, automotive, agency and sports marketing businesses.

Career & Recognition

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