Awarded to Ben Priest
Awarded to Ben Priest
It was the biggest argument I had ever had on a shoot. So big it led to not one but two reshoots of the ending (and ‘under-the-breath mutterings’ of never working together again). And it led to one of the best ads I have ever been part of – ‘Always a Woman’. And that has pretty much been the story of my 10 years working with Ben Priest on John Lewis. Never have I worked with a more dedicated, determined, and downright infuriating person as Ben, and never could I have imagined being part of the creation of a better body of work – ‘The Long Wait’, ‘Monty the Penguin’, ‘Buster the Boxer’, ‘Tiny Dancer’ – classics, all of them. Characters Disney would be proud of, soundtracks that topped the charts and stories that have become part of culture. It has been one hell of a journey. And I have enjoyed every step of it with Ben.
I’ve literally loved all of our meetings, even the terrible ones, because of their always passionate, often surprising, brutally honest, open-hearted and frequently hilarious nature. And I’ve loved every minute of making the ads that have meant so much to millions. Ben made it all a joy. And it’s a joy he has brought to so many other great brands, from Brad and Dan for Fosters, through to some of the best VW ads for a long time.
What makes Ben so unique is his ability to do the finest creative work in a way that ordinary people will love as well as awards juries like The British Arrows. It was never about what his industry peers would think of an ad, only what his Uncle Vince might say. And that, for me, is his greatest skill and lasting legacy. Quality of ideas and executions shouldn’t be just for small risk-taking brands; it should permeate everything the biggest and most important brands do too, and Ben has ensured that in everything he’s touched. He’s been a formidable sparring partner, a valued confidant and above all a great friend. He’s also a legend in our industry in my view, and tonight it seems in many other people’s eyes too. I’ll miss him and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this very special award.