3 great ads I had nothing to do with #38: Adrian Rossi on Castlemaine XXXX, BT and Levi's

Adrian Rossi, joint ECD at AMVBBDO, reveals three great ads he admires but had nothing to do with

Adrian Rossi started his career alongside his co-ECD Alex Grieve, at Saatchi & Saatchi under Paul Arden. They both left to join BBH where they created award winning work for 14 years, creating award winning work for clients including Levi’s, Audi, Barnardo’s & British Airways. After a year at digital agency Isobar, they joined AMVBBDO in 2011. Together they created work such as Guinness "Cloud" & "Clock", Eurostar "Stories are waiting" as well as the recent Sainsbury’s Christmas ad, "Mog". 

Rossi and Arden won multiple awards across all the major shows including 3 Cannes Gold & 4 D&AD Yellow pencils. In 2013 they were appointed as only the 4th generation of ECDs in AMV’s history. Since then AMV has been Agency of the Year at D&AD, and won British Arrows, Creative Circle, Big Awards and multiple Lions at Cannes.

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Adrian's choices

Castlemaine XXXX "Sherry"

Saatchi & Saatchi’s series of ads for Australian beer brand Castlemaine XXXX are some of the best-loved.

The 1986 sherry spot reveals the agency’s daring approach, by having fun at the expense of the stereotypical Aussie. "Australians wouldn’t give a Castlemaine XXXX for anything else" is the tagline which catapulted this stereotypical Aussie mentality – and the brand – into British consciousness. 15 years later, the tagline was resurrected – a testament to its success in building the brand.

The writer was Mick Petherick, the director was John Marles and the spot was produced by RSA Films.

BT "Stephen Hawking"

The 1993 Stephen Hawking "Just keep talking" spot by Saatchi & Saatchi resonated in a hopeful post-Gulf war moment. Despite only having a couple of hundred well placed ratings, it struck a chord with the public.

Pink Floyd borrowed a sample of Hawking’s voice from the ad for their tracks ‘Keep Talking’ (1994) and ‘Talkin’ Hawkin’ (2014). David Gilmour did this after he saw the ad saying: "This was the most powerful piece of television advertising that I’ve ever seen in my life… I just found it so moving that I felt that I had to try and do something with it, or with him or something, in some way."

The spot was directed by Gerard de Thame and produced by Gerard De Thame Films

Levi’s  "Mr  Boombastic"

This BBH 1995 spot was created with clay animation, or ‘claymation’, shifting the brand away from its cinematic advertising to something totally new. It’s also the ad that shot Shaggy’s ‘Boombastic’ to fame.

BBH's solution for Levi’s was to celebrate the authenticity of the Original 501 Jean. The ad embodies Americana, with a 1950s feel that harks back to a time when Levi's 501s were adopted as a badge of ‘cool’ – rebellion, sex, freedom and individuality.

It was directed by Michael Mort and Deiniol Morris, with creative director Sir John Hegarty.

About this series

In this series of short films, leading Thinkbox 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 Campaign, these bi-monthly awards are judged by the Thinkbox Academy; made up of over 200 advertising luminaries. 

We hope you enjoy the films.

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