This was another year of largesse, long lunches, champagne nights and creative freedom. I was only 33 and having an absolute ball
Classic Car: Magazine feature
By 1999, my white Ford Anglia had morphed into a modded, bright redshowstopper - the upside of having no wife, girlfriend, children, low rent and no expensive habits. As such the car featured in several magazines and even won best in show at the annual Run to the Sun event in Newquay.
ITV Cold Feet: 'Rose'
This low budget shoot was still attention-grabbing. None of us watched the show but there was a scene where a man presents a rose to a lady clenched in his butt cheeks. Thanks to the arse of Matt McMullen who worked in the HHCL design studio (and also helped create the Che Jesus poster) we pulled this one off.
Birdseye: 'I fancy your mum'
Thanks to playing Q in the Bond films and being the voice of Paddington Bear, Ben Whishaw is now a lot more famous than he was when he starred in this ad for Birdseye Readymeals in 1999. Created with Jim Bolton for HHCL
Birdseye: 'Is your mum in?'
As if to emphasise the hotness of Sean's mum, his mates make a special detour just to see her. Still, it allows Sean to read from the box which is a nice example of the 'soft hard sell', where you don't realise you are being sold to.
Peter Werth: modelling
My friends at Quiet Storm needed some ordinary people to take part in their ad campaign for fashion brand Peter Werth. I managed to squeeze into a skintight t-shirt and jeans for just enough time for them to take a picture. My 3 wheeler also made it into the campaign.
Greenbelt Festival: 'Postcards'
To announce that the festival was moving to Cheltenham racecourse, we created some pull out postcards that doubled as festival information. Created with Trevor Webb.
Church ad: 'Che Jesus'
This poster was created for the Churches Advertising Network for Easter 1999 and achieved worldwide notoriety. Created with Martin Casson and Trevor Webb and designed by Matt McMullen (whose bum appears in the ITV 'Rose' advert ). Kudos to Revs Tom Ambrose ad Pete Owen Jones for giving this the green light
The poster made national news in most of the papers. I'm not sure why MPs felt the need to wade in with an opinion in the national press but they did. From the tabloids to the broadsheets, Che Jesus ruffled feathers and polarised people. Some found Che's violent campaigning an insult to their faith while others were overjoyed to finally have an image of a Jesus who didn't have blond hair and blue eyes - and who wasn't wearing a dress.
The ad made it into the Cape Times in South Africa as well as a number of other international papers. Depicting Jesus as anything other than the classical Victorian or Renaissance figure seemed to many to be blasphemy but to others it was a makeover that was long overdue.
The ad then became the subject of numerous opinion pieces in the national press. Whether people liked it or not, the image of Jesus as Che had begun to embed itself in both the media and in the church.
I don't have a copy of it but Alberto Korda was interviewed by the BBC World Service in around 2000 and told the interviewer that he liked the Che Jesus poster.
The ad was featured in the 'Seeing Salvation' exhibition in the National Gallery in London and also featured in the Millennium Dome.
After this, it went north to Glasgow to feature in an exhibition in the V&A based around the color red
Meanwhile, features on Che Jesus continued to appear in the press throughout the year.
Cherry Tango: 'Bum'
In 1999, Tango introduced a new cherry flavour. Our suggestion was to do this poster using an illustration by a waiter who was prone to doodle while taking people's orders - Jonny Voss. Only when someone pointed out the very obvious fact that black and Asian people don't have pink bums did we pull this one.
Cherry Tango: 'Slag it off'
Alternatives to this were 'Fruity like your Uncle Clive' and 'jam packed with the world's seventeenth favourite fruit'
Thomson Holidays: Costume Drama
Rather than show people having a nice holiday, we decided to do a period drama where a visionary called Daversham foresees a world where Thompson will provide top quality holidays for all. Created with Jim Bolton at HHCL and directed by Martha (sister of Ralph and niece of Sir Ranulf) Fiennes. Campaign hated it.
AA Insurance: 'Leo'
Leo was an inspirational boss who used physical metaphor to demonstrate the benefits of AA insurance to his staff. We wanted him to be in a wheelchair to make him even more inspirational but apparently the AA didn't have ramps in their call centres and didn't want to be caught out. We still snuck in an actor in a wheelchair though.
The campaign was shot by Declan (Father Ted, Cold Feet) Lowney and this was the last shot of the day. Minutes earlier, the lead actor let rip one of the most furious diatribes I have ever been party to because we changed some of his lines. Pure fury. Still, he nailed this in one take.
This was the church our Tango client attended and so he asked me to knock together an ad for their summer crusade.
100 Best Ads
As the century drew to a close, a book was written listing the 100 greatest commercials ever written. Happily, St George made the cut.
Christian Enquiry Agency: '10 Things'
We regularly provided cards that were commissioned by the Christian Enquiry Agency to go in tourist churches. Here is one from 1999. Created with Martin Casson and Trevor Webb.
Fanfare was organised by rebel Baptist minister Steve Chalke to bring a Christian element to the new millennium.
Yahoo: Christmas radio
For Christmas 1999, we commissioned high-voiced troubadour Justin Hawkins to sing to passers by on Oxford St in a super relaxed fashion, the idea being that he had already done his shopping online with Yahoo.
Church ad: 'Last Supper'
The year ended with a bang when we shot this this OOH for the Churches' Advertising Network. The idea was to take the Last Supper and transform it into a boardroom with the world's most powerful brands in attendance. Microsoft objected to being Judas and the campaign was scrapped, but not before garnering attention from the press.