Ben has had a hugely diverse career to date. He helped relaunched Subway in the UK at Above + Beyond and worked on Cannes Gold Lion-winning work for Lexus as well as campaigns for TalkTalk, and Argos while at CHI&Partners. He has a native understanding of social and digital channels – and was one of the original members of digital and social hot shop Jam. In a previous career, he managed indie band Razorlight, was a TV cameraman and once found himself filming Jade Goody in the bath on Big Brother 2.
Canal+ "The Bear"
French premium pay-TV channel Canal+ is driven by a desire to remind audiences of its commitment to quality cinema. As part of this strategy the channel's ad agency, BETC Paris, produced an offbeat, TV commercial 'The Bear' – in which a bearskin rug explains what it takes to become a great Hollywood director.
Through a combination of live action and CG 'The Bear', directed by Matthjis van Heijningen, shows the rug at work as a film director behind the scenes of his latest film, complete with mood swings and tantrums. The narrative brings to life Canal+'s claim that: 'The more you watch Canal+ the more you love cinema'.
The ad looks into the real reasons why most consumers engage in sport, whether it's to shed the pounds or relieve stress. 'Reebok is telling it as it is - people don't just do sport to win, many want to stay in shape and enjoy it. This ad will strike a chord because the consumer will appreciate their honest intent,' Jeremy Bowles, the deputy managing director of Lowe Lintas (the agency behind the work), said.
This spot won silver at the 2000 Cannes Lions. It was voted 10th best advert of all time on the 2005 program "ITV's Best Ever Ads". Micky Tudor and Brian Turner were the creatives at Lowe Lintas behind this £4 million ad. It was directed by Traktor and produced by Partizan.
John Smith's "Ball Skills"
During the World Cup in 2002, TBWA London created this standout ad. The success of the spot relied on a simple phrase, delivered perfectly by comedian Peter Kay. "'Ave it", was swiftly adopted by the nation, fuelled by World Cup fever. There was barely a person in the country unfamiliar with the ad’s strapline, contributing to an estimated £1 million worth of publicity.
The ad won D&AD Silver Award in 2003 for TV & Cinema Advertising, as well as a Gold Lion in the Alcoholic Drinks category.
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, to inspire the advertising industry to even greater heights.
The Thinkbox Academy is made up of over 200 advertising and marketing luminaries who have been involved in award-winning creative work for TV.
We hope you enjoy the films.