My Favourite Ringan Ledwidge Commercials
This is another in the globally popular ACES series of featuring commercial film directors that I admire for bringing creative concepts and storylines to filmic life that enthrall viewers.
Acknowledgements by the Advertising Communication industry, with accolades and international awards for their exemplary filmmaking craftsmanship, are hard-won and well deserved.
Ringan Ledwidge and Rattling Stick
In 2006 Ringan Ledwidge teamed up with another great British Film Director, Daniel Kleinman, to launch a film production company called Rattling Stick with the reputable Johnnie Frankel as Executive Producer.
Their founding philosophy was based on the belief that effective communication starts with a compelling story that makes viewing audiences feel something.
Ringan’s and Daniel’s subsequent multi award-winning filmmaking and globally lauded commercial output bears ample testimony of their diligent adherence to their founding principles.
1. Miller Lite, Followers
Advertising Agency: DDB, Chicago, USA
Miller Lite’s ‘Followers’ was conceived and produced for viewing during the USA Major League Baseball (MLB) 2019 World Series championship’s live broadcast.
Directed by Ringan Ledwidge, the commercial amusingly dramatises what would happen if social media followers literally rocked up at one’s front door and commenced a physical, momentum gathering pursuit in an urban street chase.
2. Audi E-Tron GT, Cashew
Advertising Agency: Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco, USA
Ringan Ledwidge directed this nostalgic story with a surprising twist for Audi’s fully electric sedan debut commercial that was aired during the live TV broadcast of the 2019 Super Bowl Football Championships to great viewer acclaim.
Hundreds of messages on Twitter proclaimed ‘Cashew’ to be the event’s best TV commercial offering.
The soundtrack song ‘Spirit in The Sky’ is by Norman Greenbaum.
3. The Guardian Open Journalism, The Three Little Pigs
Advertising Agency: BBH (Bartle Bogle Hegarty London)
Directed by Ringan Ledwidge, this Cannes Gold Lion commercial is superbly crafted and is metaphoric storytelling at its best and most powerful.
Besides motivating a huge online discussion about civic rights and social responsibility, the commercial also served as a catalyst for many academic studies. Six years later many advertising professionals still regard the Guardian’s ‘Three Little Pigs’ as the most influential and impactful commercial of the decade.
4. Lynx/Axe Male Grooming Products, Susan Glenn
Advertising Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), New York, USA
Directed by Ringan Ledwidge, with special effects by ‘The Mill’ studios in USA, New York, this surreal, dream-like story features movie actor, Kiefer Sutherland. He reminisces about his school days and Susan Glenn, the girl he had a crush on, but regrettably never had the courage to approach.
The integrated campaign was filmed over three days in Los Angeles and set in the eighties with slightly de-saturated colour images that recall the tonal values of Polaroid photographs of that time.
The campaign won a Cannes Gold Lion and an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Award as the most successful digital campaign of 2013.
Many ‘Susan Glenn’ advertising case studies followed that are still often quoted in lessons about brand communication psychographics.
5. Lynx/Axe 24-7 Body Spray, Getting Dressed
Advertising Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), London, UK
The famed appeal of this classic D&AD and Cannes Gold Lion winning commercial, directed by Ringan Ledwidge, stll attracts YouTube audiences globally.
The soundtrack features Native Hawaiian singer-songwriter Israel Kamakawiwòole’s version of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’, performed by Spanish folk metal band Mägo de Oz.
6. Hovis Bread, Go On Lad
Advertising Agency: Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, London
Ringan Ledwidge directed this cinematic 122-second commercial that follows the journey of a young boy through 122 years of British history, from the establishment of the Hovis brand in 1886, to the eve of the millennium celebrations. Many consider the short film to be the best British commercial ever made.
The commercial received dozens of industry awards but the most important acclaim came from the brand’s engaged public audience when in 1999 they voted ‘Go On Lad’ to be the best television commercial of the decade.
7. Sainsbury’s, Christmas Is For Sharing
Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London
In the midst of the mayhem of WWI on the killing fields of Flanders, there was one brief respite in 1914 on Christmas Eve when sanity prevailed.
Based on a true story, the following commercial celebrates that rare moment of reconciliation.
Ringan Ledwidge directed this short film with evocative storytelling mastery. The ‘Christmas Truce’ commemorates a remarkable historical event in its centenary year and with 19.9 million views was the most viewed commercial of the year.
The commercial also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the British supermarket chain’s partnership with The Royal British Legion’s charity for which the campaign raised 7 million pounds.
The soundtrack was produced by Aaron Ray and features the English version of ‘Stille Nacht”, written in 1818 by Austrian pastor Joseph Mohr to music composed by Franz Gruber.
8. Audi, Clown Proof
Advertising Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), London, UK
Ringan Ledwidge with his storytelling expertise skillfully directed this insightful, amusing and visually metaphoric story based on a sombre human truth that one’s automotive safety is so often compromised by the ‘clownish ‘behaviour of some drivers who share the roads we travel on.
The commercial is a very effective communication of the contrasting emotions of bemusement and fearful awareness of other drivers that all car owners can easily relate to.
The clown metaphor is fun to watch but also compelling to seriously considering Audi’s safety feature benefits that help make their vehicles ‘clown-proof’.
The soundtrack is a fitting version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Send In The Clowns” by Faultline and Lisa Hannigan.
9. Audi RS7, Duel
Advertising Agency: Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco, USA.
Directed by Ringan Ledwidge, the commercial was produced to coincide with the 2016 telecast American presidential debates.
Audi’s timing was perfect and audiences loved the topical theme of the story’s dramatic exaggeration that depicted the unfolding mayhem in reverse order.