3 great ads I had nothing to do with #30: Dave Henderson on Heineken, Honda and The Sunday Times

Dave Henderson, Chief Creative Officer at Mullen Lowe London, reveals three great ads he admires but had nothing to do with.

Henderson started as a copywriter at DDB, before moving to Grey, RKCR/Y&R, Saatchi & Saatchi, and back to DDB. He is now CCO at MullenLowe London.

Henderson has created several award winning TV ads for brands including Land Rover, Virgin Mobile, The Times, Toyota, Carlsberg, Budweiser, Virgin Media, Harvey Nichols and Volkswagen.

In 2015 Henderson organized the Executive Creative Directors Council for creative leaders at the top 50 agencies, and established creative directors at start-ups, as a forum for idea sharing. ECDC has the full support of all the major agencies and the IPA.

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Dave's choices

Heineken "Water in Majorca"

This 1985 Heineken ad, created by Lowe Howard-Spink, is a twist on the famous ‘My Fair Lady’ scene in which Eliza Doolittle tries again and again to enunciate "The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain".

The ad was directed by Paul Weiland and starred Sylvestra Le Touzel and Bryan Pringle. It was ranked at number 9 in Campaign’s 2008 "Top 10 Funniest TV Ads of All Time" and number 29 in Channel 4's "100 Greatest TV Ads" in 2000.

Sir John Hegarty’s said of the ad: "I genuinely think that, 500 years from now, anthropologists wishing to understand the British in the latter part of the 20th century will just play this commercial. Our obsession with class, language and self-deprecating humour are all supremely expressed. And all in 60 seconds."

Honda "Cog"

This 2003 Honda campaign was devised by Wieden &Kennedy London, by executive creative directors Tony Davidson and Kim Papworth. Filming was directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet at Partizan Midi Minuit, on a budget of £1million and over a 7-month production.

The final cut of "Cog" contains two continuous sixty-second shots taken from a technocrane, stitched together in post-production. Four days of filming were required to get these two shots, two days for each minute-long section. It required little post-production work as computer-generated imagery was kept to the absolute minimum.

The full version of the ad was broadcast only a handful of times, but it is regarded as one of the most ground-breaking commercials of the 2000s, and received more awards than any commercial in history.

The Sunday Times "Icons"

The Sunday Times and Grey London wanted to bring to life some of the most iconic moments in art, music and film, by filming one continuous take without any digital interference. Creative director, Nils Leonard, said that the key to the success of the ad was in reconstructing these moments meticulously.

The ad was filmed after one day of prelighting and rehearsal. A particularly tricky camera angle at the moment of the Creation of Adam, was overcome when the camera man was able to tilt the camera to a 45 degree angle manually.

It won the Young Director Award for Best Broadcast Commercial, a D&AD Silver for Best Art Direction and four Creative Circle Golds for Best Direction, Best Cinematography, Best production Design and Best use of Music.

About this series

In this series of short films, leading Thinkbox Creative Academy members have the tricky task of selecting just three TV ads that have inspired them: brilliant commercials, old and new, that they admire but had nothing to do with.

The idea is not only to explore some of our greatest ads in the company of people who know a thing or two about making them, but also because of the proven link between creativity and effectiveness encourage the advertising industry to even greater heights.

About The Thinkboxes

The Thinkboxes are the first awards to celebrate the UK's world-beating TV ad creativity, in all its forms, at regular way-points throughout the year.

Created in association with Haymarket Brand Media (Campaign, Marketing and Brand Republic), these bi-monthly awards are judged by the Thinkbox Creative Academy; made up of over 200 advertising luminaries.

We hope you enjoy the films.

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