Dan Smith Legal Director Head of Advertising & Sponsorship and Head of Food & Beverage (UK)
(Automotive, Retail, Tech, Sport sector teams)

Speaks:  English

Primary office:  London

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.

It's been a huge privilege for me over my 25 years at the firm 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 including the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, Premier League football, cricket, darts and the Glastonbury Festival.


"Dan Smith is an absolute specialist in advertising law, a real expert in the area"
Chambers 2024

Dan is one of the six experts ranked as a Leading Individual for Media & Entertainment
Advertising & Marketing in Legal 500 2024


  • 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 some of the world's biggest brands.

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 influencer marketing campaigns, online choice architecture (dark patterns), emerging issues such as those associated with generative AI and the Metaverse 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 the anti-ambush marketing program at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, 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 rights-holders 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 an automotive business' innovation competition across more than 40 territories, promotions for a soft drinks giant across Western Europe; the relaunch of an iconic car brand across the European Union, medical device product launches across 20+ EU and APAC territories and multi-jurisdictional advertising and promotions guidance across multiple product sectors

Career & Recognition

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