Jay Pond-Jones

This campaign is another old favourite of mine. The Daily Mail claimed that the Asshole spot ‘brought TV down to a new low’ according to Mary Whitehouse. We managed to get the rules of watershed advertising restriction to get that particular ad on air.

The back story to all this was that we’d been given two weeks to get Denis Leary signed up to do this campaign. If we didn’t, the account would be up for pitch. Now, as Holsten Pils was one of GGT’s founding accounts, you can imagine the drama.

Robert Saville and I were filming with American advertising directing legend Joe Seidlemeier in Chicago, so we went en-route to New York to meet with Denis Leary and his people. It was a meeting I’ll never forget. We sat facing Denis across a wide table. Behind him was a row of at least six agents and representatives. He read through the scripts without as much as a flicker to indicate what he was thinking. “These need more work” he said. “Can you do some work on them and come back on Tuesday?” We took that to be a pretty positive response, so that’s what we did.

Frank Budgen directed the ads. We made three series of them and they were a big success. The ‘Asshole’ commercial did especially well at Cannes. I remember Frank calling me one day to say he wanted to do more editing on the ‘No Shit’ cinema commercial. There was a shot that really bugged him – it was a single frame longer than he wanted. I explained that the commercial had already won a gold at the British Television Awards. He went ahead and changed the version on his reel anyway. Fair enough. That’s Frank for you.