3 great ads I had nothing to do with #51: Ian Heartfield

Ian Heartfield, chief creative officer at BBH reveals three great ads he admires but had nothing to do with

Ian Heartfield joined BBH in 2011 as a creative director, having worked at Ogilvy, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and Fallon. He progressed to be an executive creative director in July 2017 alongside Anthony Austin before stepping into his current role as chief creative officer in August 2018. His award-winning work includes "Birth" and "Clowns" for Audi, which won Campaign’s Creative Grand Prix in 2017. Audi was also a gold winner at the 2018 IPA Effectiveness Awards.

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Ian's choices

Guinness "Surfer"

Launched in 1999, the iconic "Surfer" ad by AMV BBDO was part of a Diageo campaign to help promote Guinness in the UK using the tagline "Good things come to those who wait".

The 60-second ad, directed by Jonathan Glazer, focuses on a Polynesian surfer successfully tackling a huge wave.

Set to the strains of Leftfield, the ad draws inspiration from Herman Melville's Moby Dick and Walter Crane's 1893 painting Neptune's Horses. It went on to win more awards than any other ad in 1999 – including wins at the Clio Awards, D&AD Awards and Cannes Lions.

Hartfield said "If Guinness’ "Surfer" ran for the first time tomorrow – on TV, in cinema and online – I’m pretty certain it would get the world talking and buying more Guinness".

Tango "St George"

Despite airing on national TV only 10 times, this ad for Blackcurrant Tango went on to win a string of awards and was named among the 100 Best Commercials of All Time. The ad, in which Tango spokesman Ray Gardner responds to a letter of complaint from a French exchange student, was filmed in just three days. It won a Cannes Gold, British Creative Circle award for best advertisement of the year in 1997, Silver Pencil from D&AD in 1998 and an ITV gold award at the British Arrows.

The ad appears to be a continuous shot, but in fact consists of tracking and helicopter shots from different days with different weather conditions with the locations seamlessly linked together. The sequence evolves through various screen styles building from low budget corporate video to a dramatic motion picture finale at the end. The ad was created by Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury and directed by TV drama director Colin Gregg.

Nike "Nothing beats a Londoner"

Wieden + Kennedy’s 2018 ad for Nike is an ode to all things London, picking up multiple awards at Cannes Lions this year including a Titanium, Grand Prix, three Golds, three Silvers and 8 shortlists.

The three minute long ad celebrates the passionate and fiercely competitive nature of London’s young athletes. The ad depicts a true sense of ‘one-upmanship’ as real kids and famous faces from the capital take it in turns to express how tough it is to train in their respective sports in the boroughs of London.

The ad’s diverse, largely London-born, cast features sports stars, musicians and celebrities including Mo Farah, Dina Asher-Smith, Skepta, Harry Kane and Gareth Southgate.

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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