King of Ads 002: Hugh Hudson puts a new face on air travel.

Welcome to the second and final part of this week’s The Kings of Ads.


Hugh Hudson. British Airways: Advertisement “Face”. (0:22 – 1:49). Great Britain, 1989. How many TV adverts tout “a cast of thousands”? This is how many bodies entered the formation of the mobile feast of a face in this unforgettable advertisement. As much an art form as crop circles, only aerial shots of Hudson for British Airways are free to roam the countryside.

Martin Scorsese. Armani for him. (1:50 – 2:33). United States, 1986. A pinch of Visconti, a hint of Antonioni, a hint of Hitchcock and Michael Ballhaus looking through the viewfinder. If the tribute translated into profits, it would be the biggest ad ever sold!

Hugh Hudson. Fiat: Figaro (2h35 – 4h35). Great Britain, 1979. A prescient two-minute advert for cars built entirely by robots. Unless you count the drivers hauling the cars from the factory to the trailer, there are hardly any humans in sight. (According This is not advertising, when Hudson and his team arrived at the Fiat factory in Turin, they were greeted by picketers protesting automation.) Nor is a narrator’s voice relied on to tell viewers what to think . Other than a Fiat brand, the only chyroned words on the screen are “Hand-built by robots”.

Ricardo Albinana. Sanyo (4:36 – 5:05). Spain, 19?? With television reception so realistic that it fooled the chimpanzees, it will be child’s play to bamboozle the humans!

Claude Lelouch. Renault (5:06 – 6:05) France, 19 years old ??. A row of bump-jumping Renaults, seen through Lelouch’s patented compressed telephoto lens.

Hugh Hudson. Benson and Hedges: Recovery. (6:06 – 8:01). Great Britain, 1979. The diving bell and the monolithic cigarette packet. The least impressive (and cohesive) of the six Hudson industrial advertisements contained in the collection.

Jean-Luc Godard. Jean Marithé and François Girbaud: Closed (8:02 a.m. – 8:23 a.m.). France, 1987. CAUTION: Take off the trousers before ironing!

Hugh Hudson. Fuji Movie (8:24 – 9:03). France, 19?? Fujicolor Unlimited Vision: so realistic it’s surreal.

Etienne Chatiliez. Super Timor (9:04 a.m. – 9:34 a.m.). France, 1986. A hilarious spot shows how to go from cheering houseflies to keeping the beat with Super Timor insect repellent spray.

Maurizio Nichetti. Super Azzurro Oil (9:35 a.m. – 10:21 a.m.). Italy, 1989. Francesca Dellera takes on the role of Jessica Rabbit in this Who Framed Roger Rabbit?-commercial inspired by petroleum.

Carlos Saura. Orangina: The Ballet (10:22 a.m. – 11:06 a.m.). Spain, 1989. The floor begins to rumble during this West Side Story– spot induced by soft drinks.

Jean-Paul Goude. Citroen (11:07 a.m. – 1:16 p.m.). France, 1980s. Citroën, the automotive armadillo, survives a nuclear holocaust.

Just Jackin. Seiko (1:17 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.). France, 19 years old ??. Synchronize your watches on a hazy field of honor for this aerial variation of a duel at dawn.

Hakan Sjodin. nokia (14:11 – 14:26). For such a tough phone, your shoes stand up to a dog’s raised leg in torrential rain.

Gerard Jugnot. Vittelloise (14:27 – 14:56). France, 1980s. Something is bound to be lost in the translation of this uncaptioned ad for bottled water.

Eric de la Hosseraye. Workshop Magazine (14:57 – 16:23). France, 1990s. The hieroglyphic history of cinema summarized in this buried NSFW advertisement for a film magazine.

Jean-Jacques Annaud. Hertz (16:24 – 17:19). France, 1980s. Let Hertz put you in the driver’s seat before the vultures start circling.

Hugh Hudson. British Railway (5:20 p.m. – 6:50 p.m.). Great Britain, 1988. A love letter to riding the rails. Shit if that didn’t make me want to skip a Coaster in LA!

Franco Zeffirelli cursed the Jews of Universal Studios for supporting Scorsese The Last Temptation of Christ. Whatever he sells, I don’t buy. Next…

Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Road Safety: Knowing how to drive is knowing how to live (7:39 p.m. – 8:09 p.m.). France, 1980s. Bank as if your life depended on it! A typical wild-eyed, wide-angle romp from the man who brought you deli.

Theo Delaney. Jiffi Condoms (8:10 p.m. – 8:40 p.m.). The commercial as a subversive art. Imagine if Margaret Thatcher’s parents Manuel Noriega and Nicolai Ceceascu had used Jiffi condoms. Theo Delaney did it!

Fritz Tschirren. Samurai Toothpicks (8:41 p.m. – 9:12 p.m.). Italy, 1990s. Best to pack a toothpick in case sex and dinner become one and the same.

Alain Franchet. Effective (21:13 – 22:13) France, 1990s. Muscular construction workers, some clad only in tinfoil shorts, find the missing link in perfume.

Jean-Jacques Annaud. Kelton Watches (10:13 p.m. – 10:45 p.m.). France, 1990s. Can a wristwatch stand up to a two-tonne locomotive? Of course not!

Hugh Hudson. Benson and Hedges (22:46 – 24:12). You won’t know it’s a cigarette commercial until seconds before it ends, and then your coat and shoes are on as you walk towards the local convenience store for a bundle of cigarette butts. All this and a view of Monument Valley that even John Ford had not imagined.

William Klein. Citroen (24:13 – 25:12). France, 1968. The famous photographer finds the rhythm of the road in this nocturnal walk through the Parisian countryside.

Walter Lantz. Coca-Cola: The Valiant Tailor (25:13 – 27:05). France, 1948. An animated variation on Jack and the Giant Slayer with the town tailor celebrating his defeat of the colossus with an ice cold coke!

Peter Wester. Samarin (27:06 – 27:39). Britain, 1980s. A reminder to take an antacid before entering a crowded lift.

Roman Polansky. 1664 by Kronenbourg: The Composer (27:39 – 28:39). France, 1980s.

Johan Skog. Fresh mint (28:40 – 29:00). Norway(?), 19??. Peppermints for those oh-so kissable farewells to the troops.

Just Jackin. Peaceful (29:01 – 29:30). France, 19?? Non-alcoholic anise drink to get you in the mood. The mood for what everyone guesses.

Jean-Jacques Beineix. Valentine’s Paint Cream (29:31 – 30:03). France, 1980s. The giant black leopard in the room is best ignored when trying to paint a living room.

Riley Scott. Pepsi (30:04 – 31:00). USA, 1984. Aliens pass the cola test in this Close Encounters rip-off from the man who brought us Blade Runner a year earlier.

David Bailey. Match Blonde Gauloises (31:05 – 31:50). France, 1980s. A swarm of beautiful Bedouins bathed in Gauloises blue roam the desert in search of smoke. Mute beyond belief.

Gerard Jugnot. Vittelloise (31:50 – 31:58). France, 1980s. Another place for bottled water, this one running eight seconds.

Werner Hlinka. Audi Quattro (31:59 – 32:57). Germany, 1980s. The car to buy if you plan to ride an Olympic ski jump.

Federico Fellini. Campari (32:58 – 34:30). Italy, 1984. As she tries to disconnect her train cabin companion, the beautiful blonde points her remote control out the window to change the scene. A Pavarotti-style traveler gets his hands on the remote control, he has something more than romance in mind. This boy has a bottle of aperitif in mind.

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