John Webster was the ad creative behind some of the UK’s best-loved ads, and advertising characters, of the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Google’s Patrick Collister recorded a series of interviews with Webster in 2004 and recently teamed up with students at the School of Communication Arts in London to turn them into a documentary about his life and work. The film has just been released online and can be viewed here.
Webster was a creative director at BMP (now Adam & Eve DDB) for three decades, where he created some of the UK’s most iconic ads, including Smash Martians and numerous spots for John Smith’s. He had a particular talent for creating lovable characters for ads, coming up with the Honey Monster, the Hofmeister Bear, and the aforementioned martians, amongst others. Collister’s interviews with Webster offer an insight into the way he worked, and what he thought about advertising and adland. In the film above, they are intercut with comment from ad luminaries including Sir John Hegarty, Dave Trott, Rory Sutherland and Steve Henry, as well as examples of Webster’s ads. A selection of our favourite spots by Webster are also shown in full below:
A compilation of early John Smith’s ad
Jack Dee and some penguins for John Smith
The original Honey Monster ad
Kia Ora, Too Orangey For Crows
First Walkers Crisps ad starring Gary Lineker
A selection of Smash Martians ads