Awarded to Kim Papworth and Tony Davidson
Kim Papworth and Tony Davidson got into the business in the mid-80s, joining the brilliant BMP
and enjoying mentorship from the late, great John Webster.
What marked them out, early on, was not just their palpable creative ambition but their absolute refusal to conform.
You would share with them an idea or a piece of work and their stock response would always be,
“Yeah. But the problem is it’s an ad.”
From triumphing in film on brands as diverse as Optrex, Canada Dry, Scottish Amicable and VW they joined Leagas Delaney, where they turned their attention to Adidas football, and produced a wilfully anarchic Pepe jeans film, directed by our dearly-missed, former colleague, Frank Budgen.
But it was at BBH where they really put themselves on the map. When Sir John Hegarty took a challenging, new campaign idea to the Levi’s client, only after he’d presented the scripts did he reveal, “Oh, did I mention that one of the two characters is a small, yellow puppet?” And Flat Eric was born.
Perhaps it was work like this that made Dan Wieden sit up, when charged with re-booting his failing
UK office. Whatever turned his head, I’m sure he was delighted with his decision to put these two
chaps in charge.
Because what followed, creatively speaking, was an absolute joy to behold. A brilliant, animated 360 Nike campaign, encouraging us to ‘Run London’. Cats with thumbs and a moon-walking pony in the name of Cravendale and Three. Explosive, visceral Lurpak ads, packed full of visual wit, that made you want to eat the screen. And then there was Honda.
It is not an over-statement to say that Wieden+Kennedy’s work on the Honda business, under this team’s leadership, represents some of the most original and rewarding film-making our industry
For no logical reason an American writer and DJ became the irresistible voice of this Japanese brand. Film presented itself in the form of hypnotic art installation. Cheesy jingles preached ‘hatred’. Balloons rose out of waterfalls to Andy Williams. Interactive magic enabled us to watch two conflicting stories simultaneously. Anything fresh and different was in. The Honda account became a canvass for restless experimentation in film.
Such brilliance was recognised by British Arrows. The executions, ‘Cog’, ‘Grrr’, ‘Impossible Dream’ and ‘The Other Side’, have won a record four British Arrows ‘Commercials of the Year’.
And, in the process, further careers were built. Kim and Tony are always keen to stress that they have not done their best work on their own, but with brilliant agency colleagues, crafts people and clients. Which, as we know, is what great creative direction is all about.
Anyone who is fascinated by film, anyone who loves playing with it, expressing themselves through it, pushing it to its limitations and marvelling at its magical properties cannot fail to be blown away by the extraordinary output of this team. Kim and Tony have shown, over the years, how far you can go in this industry with creative ambition. In many ways ‘The Power of Dreams’ could have been written for them.