Cannes' Grand Prix winner Perkins dies aged 68 after stroke

John Perkins, the commercials director who was most famous for scooping the Grand Prix at Cannes in 1989 for the ad that made an international star of a dog called Pippin, has died aged 68.

Perkins, who stopped working ten years ago, had been ill for some time with a heart condition and died on the Isle of Wight last Friday following a stroke.

Perkins was an acclaimed tabletop director and specialist in animal films.

However, it was his Cannes winner for the Spanish agency Contrapunto for which he will be best remembered.

In the film, made for the Spanish TV channel TVE, the dog is seen packing his bags and leaving home because his owner watches too much TV. Its appearance provoked a national debate in the country over the need to watch TV sensibly.

Perkins, who was born in Bath, began his career as a photographer for Country Life magazine before progressing to commercials directing during the early days of commercial TV.

During that time he built a reputation for coaxing memorable performances out of children and animals. His credits include the commercial for Arthur's catfood in which the feline star is seen dipping his paw into the tin to get the food.

James Bretherton, a producer and the son-in-law of Perkins, said: "In the days before animal trainers, John had a way of getting animals to do things that you wouldn't normally expect of them. The success that the Pippin commercial achieved gave him a whole new lease of life."

Perkins' funeral will take place next Tuesday at 2.30pm at St Mary's Church, Great Offley, Hertfordshire. Anyone who knew him is welcome to attend.


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