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Adland pays tribute after director Ringan Ledwidge dies at 50

Ringan Ledwidge has died from cancer at the age of 50

Tributes have been pouring in from across adland for respected commercials director Ringan Ledwidge, who passed away at his LA home on Wednesday at the age of 50 from cancer.

The director was a go-to figure among advertisers keen to entrust their brand to a safe pair of hands, bequeathing a legacy of award-winning campaigns for Sainsbury’s, Audi and The Guardian among others.

Ledwidge first earned the respect of his peers for directing 2006’s Gone, a tale of a couple’s encounter with a disarming psychopath while vacationing in Australia. That provided the springboard for Ledwidge to co-found Rattling Stick with fellow director Daniel Kleinman and producer Johnnie Frankel.

From there history was made with a series of memorable campaigns, notably 2014’s ‘Christmas is for Sharing,’ a campaign on behalf of Sainsbury’s and the Royal British Legion, which drew on Ledwidge’s roots in photojournalism. Deploying striking imagery of Germans and the Allies playing football during the Great War, the piece carried particular resonance to Ledwidge, whose grandfather and celebrated war poet Francis Ledwidge died in the conflict.

More recently Ledwidge enjoyed a strong association with the Audi car brand, conducting directing duties for ‘Cashew,’ a Super Bowl LIII commercial from Venables Bell & Partners depicting a man in a dreamscape reunited with his grandfather, who gifts him a new Audi electric vehicle – which ends with a surprise twist.

That followed directly from ‘Send in the Clowns’ for Audi in a spot from BBH London, which contrasts the pratfalls of a circus troupe with the sleek technology of the auto brand.

In a statement, Rattling Stick wrote: “It is with a very heavy heart we have to announce that our beloved Ringan passed away in his sleep. Cancer has taken him from us, and we already miss him dearly. No one will ever come close to the legend that he is.

“Anyone that knew Ringan knew what a special, wonderful man he was. He will never be forgotten, and the industry has just lost one of its best.”

Among the many accolades racked up by Ledwidge through his distinguished career was the chairman’s award at the British Arrows and the distinction of being named Britain’s best director by Campaign for three years on the trot. Ledwidge was also a regular figure in The Gunn Report’s top three most awarded directors profiles.

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