Henry Kissinger, the former US secretary of state and advisor to a
string of presidents, is to make his first ad appearance in a British
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO pulled off the coup on behalf of the Economist,
for which the statesman agreed to star in a new TV spot. The ad breaks
nationally next Monday during News at Ten.
In the 30-second spot, a businessman settles into his first-class seat
on a transatlantic flight. He sits back in horror as Kissinger, renowned
for his towering intellect, settles down next to him and panics at the
thought of trying to hold his own in conversation.
His angst is underlined by the punchline: ‘Ready for a good chat?’
David Abbott, the agency’s creative director, and Ron Brown, its head of
art, went to New York for the shoot, which was completed in an hour - as
much time as Kissinger said he was able to spare.
‘Everything went according to plan and Kissinger did about half-a-dozen
takes,’ Abbott said. ‘He was very good, although the action isn’t very
The agency wanted to use Kissinger as part of a poster campaign for the
Economist six months ago, but he declined. He changed his mind, however,
when Abbott converted the ad into a TV script.
Peter Levelle directed the film through Beechurst Film Productions at
New York’s Silver Cup studio.
Abbott would not reveal how much Kissinger was paid for his
contribution. ‘It was a token fee,’ he said. ‘He reads the Economist and
the idea just tickled his fancy.’
Andrew McGregor, the Economist’s director of marketing, said: ‘I hope
people will be amused by the ad.’