Last week a number of people gathered to honour one of Britain’s greatest art directors.
The other day I was privileged to experience something that one person who was present described as ‘magical’. It was a specially-convened event to celebrate the remarkable career of Alan Waldie. Alan is noted for many great pieces of work but most famously for the Benson & Hedges ‘Swimming Pool’ commercial which won a coveted D&AD Black Pencil in the late seventies. Last Tuesday, Alan was presented with another Black Pencil, to mark his extraordinary career. But rather than describing the event in detail, I can do no better than to publish below a press release prepared by Tim Lindsay, CEO of D&AD. Here it is.
Legendary art director Alan Waldie fêted by D&AD and colleagues from CDP and Lowe Howard-Spink.
At Chelsea’s Sloane Club yesterday, industry legend Alan Waldie was presented by D&AD’s chief executive Tim Lindsay with a special Pencil “in recognition of an extraordinary career in advertising”. Present at the event were many of Alan’s colleagues from CDP and Lowe Howard-Spink days.
Adrian Holmes, in a warm tribute to his old partner, described Alan as ‘an art director who came from another era: the era when craft in advertising actually mattered’. He also acknowledged that ‘with Alan’s magic came its constant companion: mischief’, and proceeded to share some of the more notable ‘Waldie stories’ with his audience.
Alan is probably best known for his work on the ground-breaking Benson & Hedges ‘surreal’ campaign. This included the famous ‘Iguana’ cinema commercial directed by Hugh Hudson, itself a recipient of a D&AD Black pencil in 1979 and often cited as one of the most influential commercials ever made.
Alan was also involved in the early days of the Heineken ‘Refreshes the Parts’ campaign, and was art director on many of the award-winning commercials including ‘Water in Majorca’ and ‘Blues Singer’.
As Alan, now 75, left the room, a chorus of ‘Waldie, Waldie’ was taken up by all present – an echo of the same chant which filled the Grosvenor House at the D&AD awards night 36 years ago.