top of page

This was another year of largesse, long lunches, champagne nights and creative freedom. I was 32 and having an absolute ball

Classic Car: Magazine feature

By 1999, my white Ford Anglia had morphed into a modded, bright red showstopper - 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.

pre che 199 portrait_Page_1.jpg

ITV Cold Feet: Rose

This low budget shoot was still attention-grabbing. None of us had watched the show but there was a scene where a man presented 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. 

portrait 1999_Page_2.jpg

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 'soft hard sell', where you don't realise you are being sold to.

Peter Werth: modelling

Becky Clarke at Quiet Storm needed some ordinary people to take part in her 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.

Screenshot 2023-11-27 at 11.42.28.png
pre che 199 portrait_Page_8.jpg

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.

pre che 199 portrait_Page_4.jpg

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. Kudos to Revs Tom Ambrose ad Pete Owen Jones for giving this the green light

che landscape_Page_1.jpg
che portrait_Page_9.jpg

The poster made 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 nightie.

che landscape_Page_4.jpg
che landscape_Page_3.jpg
che portrait_Page_7.jpg
che landscape_Page_8.jpg
che landscape_Page_2.jpg
che portrait_Page_3.jpg
che landscape_Page_6.jpg

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. 

che portrait_Page_6.jpg

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.

che portrait_Page_8.jpg

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.

che portrait_Page_4.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 5.35.28 PM.png

After this, it went north to Glasgow to feature in an exhibition in the V&A based around the colour red

che landscape_Page_7.jpg

Meanwhile, features on Che Jesus  continued to appear in the press throughout the year.

che landscape_Page_5.jpg

Cherry Tango: Bum

In 1999, Tango introduced a new cherry flavour. Our suggestion was to do this poster which used 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.


pre che 199 portrait_Page_5.jpg

Cherry Tango: Slag it off

Alternatives to this were 'Fruity like your Uncle Clive' and 'jam packed with the world's seventeenth favourite fruit'

pre che 199 portrait_Page_6.jpg

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.

1999 post che portrait_Page_3.jpg

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.

Peniel Church: Inspiration

This was the church our Tango client, David Atter attended and so he asked me to knock together an ad for their summer crusade.

Portrait post che 1999_Page_7.jpg

100 Best Ads

As the century drew to a close, a book was written listing the 100 greatest commercials ever written. Happily, Blackcurrant Tango St George made the cut.

Screen Shot 2018-09-08 at 3.31.21 PM.png

Christian Enquiry Agency: 10 Things

We regularly provided cards that were commissioned by the Christian Enquiry Agency and which were placed in tourist churches. Here is one from 1999. Created with Martin Casson and Trevor Webb.

Fanfare: Millennium

Fanfare was organised by rebel Baptist minister Steve Chalke to bring a Christian element to the new millennium. We created OOH, postcards and wrote a prayer.

1999 post che portrait_Page_2.jpg
Portrait post che 1999_Page_8.jpg
1999 post che portrait_Page_5.jpg
1999 post che portrait_Page_7.jpg
1999 post che portrait_Page_6.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 2.17.36 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 2.17.25 PM.png

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.

Unknown Track - Unknown Artist

Church ad: Last Supper

The year ended with a bang when we shot 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.

portrait 1999_Page_1.jpg
portrait 1999_Page_1.jpg
bottom of page