I made this ad in 1999:
I remember when the brief came in. My art director (Paul) and I wanted to do what John Webster had done and create something the kids would copy/sing in the playground. So we decided to do a funky cartoon that would be a reworking of a kind of Hong Kong Phooey-1970s New York vibe, with The Theme From Shaft changed to some stuff about a dog that eats popcorn.
We finished the animation with a lovely bloke called Andrew from Hibbert Ralph and went through quite an elaborate re-record of the music, with proper musicians who had played on many big, famous tracks.
Then the people from Walkers said that maybe we could get Isaac Hayes to re-record his singing part for PR value, an idea that Paul and I were very taken with. For me, the thought of Isaac singing my rewritten lyrics was both slightly embarrassing and ridiculously thrilling (he was very famous at that time for his part as Chef in South Park), but definitely a story to put on a blog fifteen years later.
So off we went to New York, to record in some classic studio in mid-town, and – yes! – there was Isaac singing about Sundog Cheesy Popcorn. As part of the PR deal he had to be interviewed by a lady from the Daily Star, but he sat with us for ages, telling fantastic stories of how he shagged Lady Windemere back in the 60s.
So that was fun.
Unfortunately the ad worked brilliantly, so everyone went out and bought the popcorn and realised it tasted like testicle sweat.
Nothing makes a bad product fail faster than good advertising.
Next week (if I remember): the time I nearly got into massive trouble when I shot a Walkers press ad with Victoria Beckham.