Currently airing on British TV is a rather unusual road safety spot from M&C Saatchi for Transport for London. Optical Illusions was co-directed by graphic designer Peter Saville. The commercial was actually made over a year ago, at which time we spoke to Saville about his involvement
Saville has a consultancy arrangement with M&C. “I’ve known [M&C exec creative director Graham Fink] for about 25 years and he’s always been very interested in the relationship between advertising and graphic design and so nurtured the relationship between he and I,” Saville told us.
As part of the arrangement, Saville comes into the agency to review current work. “I’ve been trying to move away from the commercial sector, not get deeper into it, but I’m always happy to give my opinion on these things. I’m not obliged to be positive, I can be very critical. Their TFL work is something I never have any hesitation in wanting to comment on, as it’s not selling anything! It’s public sector work, it’s important that it’s done well. I do admire M&C’s work for TFL I think it’s been very cool.”
“This one,” he explained, “came up because it was entirely an animation, entirely a graphic proposal, so Graham asked if I would work on it.”
The ad was co-directed with Marcus Werner-Hed: “In the last stage of my having a studio, Marcus was my protégée – he came to work with me as an assistant but he was a star. I was the ‘aesthetics’ director of the ad – it seemed to me immediately that the way for this to work most effectively was to take you somewhere else. This was the learning zone, the Open University, invading your television at prime time. It would retain the sober, academic learning-by-screen approach.”
“It’s familiar but unexpected – I hope that might be quite effective.”
The ad was art directed by Mark Goodwin at M&C with Graham Fink.