Sonya Clibbens

In memory of British film director Tony Scott

We’re all big film fans here at Red C… as well as being advertising geeks. So the death of Tony Scott has really shocked us, as he not only made some of our favourite films, he also made some of our favourite adverts too.

We’re all big film fans here at Red C… as well as being advertising geeks. So the death of Tony Scott has really shocked us, as he not only made some of our favourite films, he also made some of our favourite adverts too.

Not many people realise that Tony Scott started his career making TV commercials. At first Tony had wanted to do documentaries, but his older brother Ridley persuaded him to work at RSA. Telling Tony (who was mad keen on cars) that he would have a Ferrari with in a year of working with him… and he did.

In the course of the next two decades, Scott directed thousands of television commercials for Ridley Scott Associates (RSA), his older sibling’s London-based production company, while also overseeing the company’s operation during periods in which his brother was developing his feature film career. It was here that Tony Scott became a master craftsman, developing the heightened visual style and preoccupation with surface aesthetics that would later become the hallmark of his feature films.

In tribute to Tony, here are some of our favourite adverts that he directed.

SAAB – ‘Nothing On Earth Comes Close’ (1985)

Scott’s Saab ad is nothing short of a trailer for Top Gun! In fact, this was the ad that largely earned him the job directing the 1980s blockbuster success. It’s a beautifully art directed advert that plays upon the Saab’s jet fighter pedigree… although the car may look outdated… the techniques and directing style still knocks us for six.

BMW Commercial 005 “Beat The Devil”

This commercial for BMW is one of a series of ads (or short films) created by some well-known directors. Tony Scott directed this 10min short movie. It features actors such as, Clive Owen, James Brown, Danny Trejo and Gary Oldman.

This is an advert like no other. It really does defy description or explanation. It’s humorous, intriguing and an action packed commercial and if you haven’t watched it already, here’s your chance.

Barclays ‘big’ (2000)

In this advert, Anthony Hopkins asks, “What it is that fascinates us about the word ‘big’?” He quotes examples of the way we use the word ‘big’ but when it comes to talking about his fee, suddenly the word escapes him. Brilliant! I think he plays the role really well. The way it is shot, using different angles, chopping in and out, and the lighting is iconic of Tony Scott’s visual style.

R.I.P. Tony Scott… you gave us all a great deal of joy.