Frank Budgen's memorial this week presented an occasion to reflect not only on the humanity and brilliance of the man as an artist, but on his legacy.
A year ago we lost one of the world's finest and most revered commercials directors, writes Brothers and Sisters' executive creative director.
Budgen shot era-defining ads, among them "Double life" for PlayStation, Levi's "Twist", "Mountain" and "Play-Doh" for Sony, Reebok "Escape the sofa", and "Tag" for Nike.
The industry is in some ways unrecognisable from the late 90s when Budgen first rose to prominence. Advertising has become a very fractured place with the focus moving towards "innovation" and technological advancement when it should be on craft and creative endeavour.
The agency/client power balance has also shifted. At the ADFX Awards this month, advertising veteran and author of Ad Contrarian Bob Hoffman bemoaned what he described as the "lousy" state of creativity in advertising, saying that creatives have been pushed down the food chain and that their ideas are viewed more as "a support service" than something of real value.
Advertising has become a very fractured place with the focus moving towards "innovation" and technological advancement when it should be on craft and creative endeavour.
I’d argue that, despite the challenges facing us, great ideas will always make their way through, and we can rest assured that the influence of Budgen’s genius and that of his peers, Michel Gondry, Chris Cunningham, and Jonathan Glazer, remains to this day.
They paved the way for the extraordinary craftsmen and women currently working in our industry.
Everything about Budgen’s work was crafted to within an inch of its life – and then crafted all over again. He and his peers made us realise that the idea wasn’t enough. They showed the world that there was no limit to what could be imagined, and the genius of their work lay in the detail.
They demonstrated that combining pictures and music in just the right way could have a hugely profound effect, that editing could create a whole new language, and that visual effects have the power to make us catch our breath.
In London we are fortunate to have access to an incredible depth of craft talent. Is there another city in the world where you can write a script and take it to such a skilled collection of directors, editors, sound engineers, and visual effects people? Dougal Wilson, Kim Gehrig, Ringan Ledwidge, Sara Dunlop, Electric Theatre Collective, The Mill, MPC, Framestore, Wave, Factory, Grand Central, Work, The Quarry and Final Cut to name just a few.
Whether or not we have the best ideas in the world is up for debate. But one thing we do know is that we sure as hell have the best people to bring them to life.
Andy Fowler is the executive creative director of Brothers and Sisters.