Would you credit it? Advertising's writers are getting missed off the list
It’s quite rare that I really like a new TV commercial but I do think that new Halifax “Ghostbusters” spot is rather good, so I went online to find out who did it. To my delight, I found the extensive list of credits you see below:
Head of marketing
Group executive creative director
Chief creative officer
Another Film Company
Audio post production
Film IP, talent & music clearance
“I knew it”, I thought, “I absolutely knew it! The moment I saw this ad I knew it was a James Beesley. It’s a signature piece of Beesley media buying. You can see the brilliance of his Excel spreadsheet in every frame. And yes, I could definitely detect the genius of Divine Noelie too. Add the great Dan Renirie to the mix and there you have it – the media dream team. Talented as these three are, they couldn’t have created this commercial all on their own. No, what any great piece of work needs are three separate levels of creative director and this commercial was lucky enough to have that.
I see it was directed by the wonderful Declan Lowney whose credits include Father Ted, Cold Feet, Little Britain and Alan Partridge – Alpha Papa. Though, of course, it’s only fair that he’s way down the list of credits. After all, his creative accomplishments pale in comparison with the mid-weight account handling of Ross Keane and Rosa Aaronovitch. However, I suspect that it was the leadership of account director Sam Geuter under the watchful eye of managing partner Mike Stern that really made the difference. Then, once you factor in the strategic acuity of both John Blight and Henry Kozak, well, magnificence is practically guaranteed.
The commercial was produced by Simon Monhemius – terrific producer, I remember him from AMV. Or was it? Imogen Pai and Jimena Seoane are also credited as “Producers” though Alex Fitzgerald, not just a producer but an “Executive Producer”, was almost certainly the one in charge.
But where would anyone of these people be without Andrew “Barnsley” Wood? He must have contributed twice as much as anyone else. Why else would he have two credits? “Creative Director” (Hang on, haven’t we already got four of those?) and “Lead Compositor”. I mean, Ed Poulson may be a good compositor but this commercial would have been nothing without Barnsley’s “lead” compositing.
Surely it’s only right that everyone involved in a TV commercial should be afforded due recognition. All must have credits, so it follows that, if this commercial is successful, all must have prizes too. It could win big at D&AD, so I do hope Tim Lindsay is busy making thirty-three yellow pencils and reinforcing the stage.
Others see this as a worrying and demoralising trend. In their opinion, a lengthy creditfest like this one diminishes the roles of those who created the ad in the first place. Their achievements are now buried under a suffocating slew of other names whose contributions might have been relatively minimal.
Nonsense. When people go to the cinema, they’re not interested in who’s in the film, who wrote it or who directed it. No, what they want to know is who negotiated the IP and music clearance. Perhaps this explains why, among the credits for this particular commercial, there’s no mention of who actually wrote it.
But then, that doesn’t seem to matter anymore, does it?
Paul Burke is a writer, producer and director. You can find him on Twitter @paulburkeradio. The Halifax ad, created by the team at Adam&Eve/DBB, can be viewed here.