John Webster, creator of Smash Martians to Honey Monster, dies age 71

LONDON - John Webster, the creative brains behind some of the most memorable TV commercials of the past 30 years -- from the Smash Martians to the Sugar Puffs Honey Monster -- has died aged 71.

He collapsed after a heart attack while jogging near his home in Barnet, Hertfordshire, on Friday morning and was dead before help could arrive.

As head of the creative department at the then Boase Massimi Pollitt (now DDB London), Webster honed his reputation as one of the most talented creatives of his generation. The film director Alan Parker once described him as "quite simply the best TV commercial thinker the British advertising industry has yet produced".

The performing dog in the John Smith Bitter commercials, the cockney Hofmeister bear and the cool polar bear who promoted Cresta fizzy drinks were all Webster inventions.

He spent almost his entire working life at BMP, having been one of the senior managers from Pritchard Wood who established the agency in 1969. He was still working at DDB at the time of his death.

Yet despite his success, which included two Grand Prix awards at Cannes and the D&AD President's Award, Webster will be remembered as a modest and shy man who was nervous when talking of his achievements.

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