Director Frank Budgen Dies at 61

November 7, 2015

by Ian Cumming | Content Producer, CLICKON Media

The “tunnel visioned, self-confessed obsessive” director with a substantial history of unusual, yet highly memorable commercials has passed away at the age of 61 from leukemia.

After graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University, Budgen found a copywriting job at BBDO London. From there, Budgen climbed the advertising ladder and worked for a variety of agencies in different positions from M&C Saatchi to Boase Massimi Pollitt to the Paul Weiland Film Company. In 1997, Budgen co-founded the award-winning film production company, Gorgeous Enterprises.

Budgen’s visionary style was, quite frankly beyond description. Budgen himself even claims that his work is from the mind of “an inadvertent genius or a self-delusional idiot.”


While his ads aired at a time that I had not yet entered the world of advertising, I still remember his commercials vividly. While most [Americans] tend to leave their living room while their show is on a commercial break, I stick around, and engage with how a brand likes to represent themselves. I’m interested to see the life, innovation, and effectiveness of the advert. I pay attention to the emotions I feel when watching an ad. I really pay attention. Of course, most of them get swept under the rug in my mind, but even years later, I still remember Frank’s ads.

Now why is that so? Is it because I ultimately bought the product that his ads were selling or is it because he surpassed that goal and got me to think about the brand or product in a new and different way? I believe it is because his commercials were simply unlike anything I had ever seen. They were bold. They were weird. They were disruptive.  Nike’s“Tag” for example, didn’t feature any celebrities or impressive statistics. It encouraged play. It showed an entire city come together to engage in something as simple and lighthearted as a game of tag. It represents Nike’s love for sport, while also keeping true to it’s broad demographic.

D&AD  honored Frank Budgen at their 50th Anniversary. Paul Rothwell, another founder of Gorgeous, stated, “What makes Frank stand out is the humanity of his work and a realism that he brings to it. Frank brought in a new visual language and a new way of storytelling to commercials.”

Some of Budgen’s most notable clients include Nike, Playstation, Guinness, and Sony, to name a few. Listed below are what I believe to be a few of his greatest ads. His mind will be sincerely missed.

Nike – “Tag” 

Playstation – “Mountain”

Sony – “Play-Doh”