TOP PERFORMERS OF 2002: Production Company of the Year - Gorgeous

In winning Production Company of the Year for two consecutive years, thanks to a stunning contribution by Frank Budgen, Gorgeous has shown the title is no curse.

A glance through some of Campaign's 2002 news stories leaves you in no doubt about the worthiness of our production company winner. "Gorgeous takes top prize at BTAA night"; "Gorgeous cleans up at British Television Craft Awards"; "Gorgeous wins Cannes Palme D'Or after four of its ads scoop gold Lions".

Meanwhile, Frank Budgen was voted Best Commercials Director at the IPA's Best of the Best awards and topped the list of the world's best directors in our Campaign/Campaign Screen production report, with Tom Carty named as one of the year's best newcomers.

So, it seems that the "curse" of winning Production Company of the Year (the industry myth that the winner will subsequently suffer a downfall) has been broken, this being the second consecutive year that Gorgeous has won the title.

2001's win was helped by the outfit proving to critics that it was more than a shop window for Budgen and Chris Palmer. It was a proper grown-up company that was capable of spotting and nurturing other talent to produce a broad spectrum of work.

This budding talent came in the form of Peter Thwaites and Tom Carty and both the directors' careers blossomed last year. In the economic climate, that is something to be applauded.

Thwaites built on his reputation with amusing work for Aristoc through Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy; the impressive launch of T-Mobile; the wry Toyota ads "salesman" and "newspaper" featuring rebellious adults; and the Thornton's "effect" campaign.

Carty, with just two years as a full-time director, produced a strong reel with a vast array of work. In BBC1 "rush hour", Carty created one of the year's most talked-about ads, capturing acrobatic stunts with an air of calm sophistication. His recent San Miguel ad, by contrast, is a riot of sound and colour, while "symphony" for Sony PlayStation takes us on a surreal, David Lynch-esque journey. Other notable works included his 9/11 project and the darkly violent Boots No. 17 "knockout" ad.

Carty has been no stranger to the awards scene either, picking up Most Promising Beginner at Creative Circle as well as a gold Clio and a silver BTA.

Palmer also had a great year with the amusing, powerful and beautifully shot "kick racism out of football" campaign, and the equally impressive Road Safety ad for COI Communications and the DTLR. He also produced the hilarious and eerily convincing Kronenbourg ad "vive la Grand Bretagne" through M&C Saatchi, which visualised how our green and pleasant land would be if Napoleon had been victorious. Hence brickies would eat lobster and everything, even "j'ai hemorroides", would sound sexy. Palmer was also behind the thinking-man's "bottle" and "banana" ads for The Times and a silly high-speed car chase in San Francisco for American Express.

But, no doubt, it has been Budgen's year. 2002 has witnessed him become the most talked-about, admired, demanded, respected and awarded director on the global ad scene, purely on the strength of the work. With Budgen, there's no PR spin, no hype, no self-promotion.

His long list of accolades includes: a gold for Direction at D&AD for Levi's "twist"; Cannes Grand Prix for Nike "tag"; Best of Show at Creative Circle for Reebok "sofa", and Best Crafted Ad at BTA Craft, for the second consecutive year, for NSPCC "cartoon".

While last year's body of work isn't perhaps on the scale of 2001's, it is nonetheless memorable and indicative of Budgen's perfectionist nature, from the edgy urban cool of Levi's "rub" to the comical and polished Adidas "slugs". But his strongest spot of this year has to be "cartoon", a shocking, spine-tingling and moving piece which reminds one of the incredible power of advertising.

After winning 2001's Campaign Production Company of the Year, Gorgeous was sent an unusual gift - two strip-o-grams who eventually revealed the message: "Congrats Gorgeous. Love Mother." It will be interesting to see what is in store for it this year.

Our runner-up was also on 2001's shortlist, which is probably no consolation to Outsider's managing director, Robert Campbell. 2002 was undoubtedly one of the company's best years, with an impressive and varied reel.

Nicolai Fuglsig showed what he is capable of with Audi "bull" through Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Dom & Nic directed Volkswagen Polo "chips", took a silver at Cannes for the precocious Toyota "school" and produced the amusing and watchable Nike "puddles" ad. Paul Gay produced great work for BMP DDB, Mother and Leith London with VW "reminders", Egg "double-decker" and Carling "uplifting" respectively.

Rupert Sanders' visual eye was demonstrated by Guinness "lava" and Nissan "dolphins", with David Lodge, Acne and Pedro Romhanyi also producing notable work.

Other companies showed breakthrough creativity on their reels, which is no mean feat in a climate of recession, but it tended to be the work of one director. Spectre's Danny Kleinman was behind some of the year's best ads, such as Xbox and John Smith's, while Ivan Zacharias had a good year at Stink with Stella Artois "doctor" and ads for VW and Levi's. Partizan helped new directors off the ground, including Matthias Hoene and Numero 6, while Ringan Ledwidge produced some of his best work at Harry Nash with his work for Super Noodles, Sneak, Nestle and VW.

Recent winners: Gorgeous (2001); Partizan (2000); Gorgeous (1999); Academy (1998); Godman (1997); Blink (1996).


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