Giles Keeble: my (personal) blasts from the past – John Webster’s wonders for BMP

I am trying to remember when I first got excited by an ad rather than advertising. I went to JWT straight from university and I was simply excited by the atmosphere especially when, to a large extent, it was created by Jeremy Bullmore and Stephen King. I know there were some famous campaigns- Oxo’s Katie, the Andrex puppy, After Eight? – but it was a big place and good work seemed to depend on the group you were in.

That changed when I was offered jobs at CDP and BMP and chose the latter. CDP were doing great work, but an ad that represents the sea-change for me would be Dave Trott’s ‘Lipsmackinthirstquenchin.…’ for Pepsi, or John Webster’s Cresta Bear, or the dance routine for John Smiths, although it was not the first of that series (below.). (The Smash Martians have been chosen too many times.)

Picasso once said that great artists steal. John took things and stored them for further use: the Jack Nicholson scene in Easy Rider for Cresta Bear, and Laurel and Hardy for John Smiths – also I believe the Arkwright character was inspired by Andy Capp. Perhaps these look a bit dated, and there have been many great ads since the mid-70s. But the stuff BMP was doing then was the start of something different, for me at least.

Back to top button