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November 2018

In the magazine
Only available in print
  • The Facilities 50
    Jon Creamer launches Televisual's 31st exclusive annual Facilities 50 survey featuring the top post production houses in the UK and 48 pages of analysis of the sector
  • The Commercials 30
    Jon Creamer introduces Televisual’s exclusive Commercial 30 survey, reporting on a year of highs and lows for commercials producers.
  • The Drama Genre Report
    With competition from streamers intensifying, UK broadcasters are exploring new drama strategies. Tim Dams reports
  • Primary Colours
    Five leading movie colourists tell Michael Burns the secrets of their craft, and explain the techniques they use to grade movies like The Danish Girl, Peterloo and Baby Driver
  • Up, up and away!
    Thanks to advances in camera technology, the possibilities of aerial filming are greater than ever before. Pippa Considine reports on some of the year’s standout aerial projects
  • OB: Which Way Now
    The OB industry is embracing major change as it adapts to the worlds of UHD, HDR and IP. Michael Burns reports
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Commercials 30 2011 Back to Reports & survey Listing

BLINK productions
181 Wardour Street, London, W1F 8WZ
t 020 7494 0747

md James Studholme exec prod Blinkink Bart Yates
exec prod Blink James Bland directors number 2nd
commissions 6th peer 2nd awards 7th 
top ads/directors 3rd
credits The Long Wait by Dougal Wilson for Adam & Eve/John Lewis; Roof by Benito Montorio for DDB/Volkswagen

It took fifth position two years ago in the Commercials 30 and it came in second last year behind Rattling Stick, but this year Blink Productions makes it to the top of the poll.
And that may have come as a surprise to Blink itself at the beginning of the year. Exec producer James Bland says that although “this past year has been quite robust” the company was “not expecting to be as busy as we have been.” In many ways, Blink has managed to buck the trends.
In recent times, as budgets have been restricted it’s got harder and harder for any production company to remain creatively impressive – but Blink has. It’s created some outstanding commercials work, much of it down to a certain John Lewis and a certain Dougal Wilson who’s Always a Woman spot for the brand still remains one of the most loved ads of recent times. Blink could also point to work like its inspirational Benito Montorio directed Johnnie Walker spot featuring disabled triathlete Marc Herremans, and the animated film by Blinkink director Joseph Mann for charity The International Exchange as examples of its creative resilience.
But even though Blink has managed to place first in this year’s poll of the top UK commercials production companies, Bland says the focus is shifting further away from the straight 30-second spot. “Our main opportunities for the coming year will be non-advertising work,” he says, which would have been a bizarre thing for a company so well versed in the art of the traditional spot to have said only a few years ago. But as brands promote themselves more and more through other mediums, Blink wants to go on that journey with them. “We want to stay focused on how brands engage with their consumers,” says Bland. “The trend is less through traditional TV advertising as an interruptive media and more through brand participation and direct engagement. Branded content will probably dominate in the future.” And, at some point, a company like Blink might even find that making adverts in their traditional sense is only a tiny aspect of what it does as a business.

Rattling stick
39-43 Brewer Street, London, W2 4RS
t 020 7851 2000

key management Johnnie Frankel, Daniel Kleinman, Ringan Ledwidge
directors number 33rd commissions 22nd 
peer 1st awards 8th top ads/directors 1st
credits Diner by Daniel Kleinman for TWBA/John Smiths, Quest by Ringan Ledwidge for Mother/Stella Artois

It’s spent the last two years at the top of the Commercials 30 but this time the home of some of the most well respected directors in the sector just steps down very lightly to second position. Rattling Stick has, as always, produced some of the outstanding commercials of the past 12 months but even the home of Ringan Ledwidge, Danny Kleinman and Andy McLeod says it’s concerned with “maintaining the calibre of our creative output” and “ensuring we continue to grow financially without compromising our standards”. Rattling Stick says it’s enthused about the creative possibilities of work outside the traditional commercial but worried about managing it financially and “managing our profit margins and growth as we move into other forms of ‘communication’, which historically have significantly lower budgets.”

40/42 Lexington Street, London, W1F 0LN
t 020 7851 0200

exec producer Madeleine Sanderson 
directors number 4th commissions 4th peer 2nd awards 3rd top ads/directors 9th credits 001 by Traktor for Rainey Kelly/Virgin Atlantic; A Tribute to Givers by Eric Lynne for Adam and Eve/John Lewis

It’s “contending with smaller budgets” but Partizan says it’s still managed to produce ‘commercials and music videos we are proud of”. It’s another outfit that’s got in on the John Lewis action with Eric Lynne’s Tribute to Givers spot and it also injected some glamour back in to air travel with its Virgin Atlantic ad.

1 Alfred Mews, London, W1T 7AA
t 020 7462 4000

key management Daniel Bergmann , Robert Herman, Blake Powell
directors number 1st commissions 7th peer 11th awards 5th top ads/directors 5th 
credits Kitchen Odyssey by Martin Krejci for Wieden and Kennedy/Lurpak, Cats by Adam Berg for Mother/Ikea

Stink may be something of a behemoth, but it’s a creative powerhouse too whose directors have made some fantastic spots in the past year including Martin Krejci’s ode to the omelette in his Lurpak Kitchen Odyssey commercial and Adam Berg’s Cats spot for Ikea. But as decent scripts in general become rare in straitened times, it’s maintaining a creative reputation that’s concerning Stink and how to keep “creating innovative work and pushing the boundaries” as well as “signing fresh talent” when no one wants to take risks any more. But as agencies push to get more for their money, Stink sees its size and diversity as a big pull as “with agencies wanting both the tvc and digital element – being able to come to us to do the whole lot and work across both parts with us is an advantage.”

Gorgeous House, 11 Portland Mews, 
London, W1F 8JL t 020 7287 4060

md Paul Rothwell head of sales Chia Tucker
directors number 33rd commissions 25th 
peer 6th awards 4th top ads/directors 2nd
credits Popcorn by Chris Palmer for Fallon/ Orange; Entertainment by Peter Thwaites for BBDO NY/AT&T

Gorgeous characterises the past year in commercials production as “increasingly competitive – chasing the limited good work that exists and having to be more resourceful than ever.” No surprises there. But Gorgeous does manage to catch its share of the good work on offer including Chris Palmer’s viral hit Royal Wedding for T Mobile as well as his giant rooftop pool tournament spot for Budweiser. The trick now, says Gorgeous, is “ensuring that what starts as a great idea doesn’t lose its creativity along the production process” and “preserving the integrity of an idea as more campaigns are made to work across multiple global markets.” As with most production houses, Gorgeous increasingly looks beyond the tvc with virals, interactive films, features, promos and shorts now all part of the mix.

7/8 Bourlet Close, London, W1W 7BW
t 020 7927 9400

md Jani Guest head of production Verity White
ep/head of content Matt Minor director number 7th commissions 26th peer 17th awards 1st top ads/directors 6th credits Chip Flick/Champ by The Glue Society for AMV BBDO/Doritos; Endless Goodbye by Philippe Andre for JWT Delhi/Bharti Airtel

At first glance, it would be easy to imagine that those at Independent spent most of the last year recovering from hangovers as the Write the Future spot picked up yet another award on the international circuit. But despite such successes, Independent says the business climate has been “consistently inconsistent, in terms of volume of work. There are periods where there is a sufficient amount of work about and times where there is virtually none. In the past year what has been consistent are reduced budgets and, in general, not enough funds for the creative work that agencies are producing for their clients.” But, says Independent, with structured roles and dividing lines between client, agency and production company breaking down there will opportunities to be “found in the cracks.”

6/10 Gt Portland Street, London, W1W 8QL
t 0207 6367665

key management Fergus Brown, Chris Barrett
directors number 17th commissions 12th peer 2nd awards 6th top ads/directors 7th
credits Welcome Back by Henry Alex-Rubin for Saatchi & Saatchi/T Mobile; Fuel for Big Days by Guy Shelmerdine for BBH/Weetabix

It’s now one of the most respected outfits about but even so, md Fergus Brown says business was “much tougher this year” with “agencies inviting more directors to pitch per project” along with “companies who drop their mark-up to ridiculous levels.”

68 Wardour Street, London, W1F 0TB
t 020 7734 8124

md/ep Helen Kenny director/md Fredrik Bond
head of production Ran Holst directors number 32nd
commissions 32nd peer 6th 
awards 9th top ads/directors 4th
credits The Entrance by Fredrik Bond for W+K Amsterdam/Heineken; Golden Arches by Guy Manwaring for Leo Burnett/McDonalds

It keeps its roster compact, but it remains a creative force to be reckoned with in the world of commercials production. For Sonny London, the business climate over the past 12 months has been “tough but all achievable.” Despite the problems of “reduced budgets” for the work it does and the time draining practice of being asked to pitch “on unsold scripts” that don’t go anywhere,  Sonny has still managed to make some outstanding work in the past year including co-founder, and top 10 director, Fredrik Bond’s joyously slick The Entrance for Heineken and Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam and Guy Manwaring’s nicely observed Golden Arches work for McDonald’s and his fighter pilot spot for Warburtons.

Newlands House, 40 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NA
t 020 7637 3377

md Nicola Doring exec prods Jeremy Goold, Simon Monhemius directors number 3rd commissions 5th peer 16th awards 20th top ads/directors - 
credits JCVD by Simon Cole for VCCP/Molsen Coors; Twirl by Yoanne Lemoine for Fallon/Kraft

The past year hasn’t been characterised by doom and gloom for HSI, says md Nicola Doring. In fact, things have been “buoyant. We have sustained a busy and positive workflow.” Although, she adds “there are the expected budgetary challenges and we realise the need to be openly adaptable to the ever shifting needs of agencies and clients.” She adds that the main challenge for the coming year will be “sustaining the workflow that we have achieved this year.” The company scored a big hit with its Walkers Sandwich campaign that saw it move beyond the traditional spot and the company will next year open up new division, ISH “in order to facilitate the increase in non traditional work that we have been doing.” It also managed to shoot a Jean Claude Van Damme performance that was intentionally funny.

aardman Animations
Gas Ferry Road, Bristol, BS1 6UN
t 0117 984 8485

head of commercials and branded content Heather Wright
directors number 24th commissions 13th 
peer 17th awards 10th top ads/directors 12th
credits Dot by Sumo Science for Wieden and Kennedy/Nokia; Tate Movie Project by Sarah Cox for Fallon/Tate Museums

The commercials wing is, of course, but a small part of the national treasure that is Aardman Animations. But it’s a significant part alongside the company’s television and movie output. While Aardman gets ready to release two new features in Arthur Christmas and the much anticipated Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, its commercials division has been busily clocking up world records. Directing duo Sumo Science created the world’s smallest stop frame ad with Dot, shot under a microscope for Wieden and Kennedy and Nokia and then followed that with the world’s largest – all shot on a wintry South Wales beach with three Nokia N8s suspended 36 metres up on a crane filming a team of sand artists working away down below.

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