Johnny Cigarini

Johnny Cigarini by John Cigarini

Book: Johnny Cigarini by John Cigarini Read Free Book Online
Authors: John Cigarini
It took him two years to be offered his first commercial directing job, but he stuck at it and had the last laugh. He became one of the world’s top commercials directors and a magnificent feature film director of blockbusters
Fatal Attraction
Indecent Proposal
    Jim Baker invited me to the production office on Princes Street where I met Bob Brooks, Len Fulford and Martin McKeand. They liked me. They offered me the job.


    Carol Adler, the gal I bought my King’s Road flat from, had introduced me to a beauty called Jenny Sieff. Jenny was from the Marks and Spencer family and I met her charming parents. I remember her father telling me “Marks and Spencer doesn’t believe in advertising.” I smiled about that, years later, when the struggling brand was revived by an ad campaign featuring my mate Twiggy.
    Jenny and I went out for such a short time, and such a long time ago, that she will probably be outraged to be featured in my autobiography, but she will be nonetheless. Those months were significant and I shall tell you why. First of all, on a personal level, she was the only girl I have ever lived with, before or since, although only for a few weeks (she complained I didn’t talk to her, something I was to hear time and time again). Secondly, and more importantly, she was instrumental to my accepting the Brooks Baker Fulford job. She was a friend of Jenny Armstrong of Jenny & Co. Jenny Sieff and I went to Jenny Armstrong’s house in Chelsea for Sunday lunch, and there she invited me to her office to discuss the BBF job offer with Adrian Lyne.
    I’ll never forget meeting Adrian. He was the first man I had ever seen wearing a wolf-skin overcoat and it just looked fab. Little did I know then that Adrian would go on to be a true superstar director, but looking back, he definitely had a zing. Amazing, looking back… where we all came from, what we’re doing now… the journeys, the stories, the lessons learnt. Talking to Adrian persuaded me to accept the job offer at Brooks Baker Fulford. My feelings told me to go for it, so I did and it was the smartest move I ever made. I joined the company in April 1970.
    The job marked a big change, leaving behind the sixties for good and beginning a new career. My salary was instantly increased to £1750 per annum. I put away the suit in a bottom drawer and went out and bought a grey leather jacket and some blue jeans – my new work clothes. It certainly was the right decision.
    Two months later, we were in Venice at the International Advertising Film Festival. Bob Brooks, Jim Baker and Len Fulford were all sailing enthusiasts, and they had rented a twenty-three-metre racing ketch called Stormvogel for a sailing holiday up the Dalmatian coast, and to provide accommodation while at the Venice Festival. Jim took me for a walk along the quayside and it was there he told me he was leaving the company due to his differences with Bob Brooks. Brooks, a small East Coast American, was famous for having a great temper and would even shout at his clients, sometimes hurling the product at the wall. In 1970, when shooting the famous Cadbury’s Smash Martians commercial (voted best commercial of the century in 1999), he even lost his rag with one of the puppets and was ready to throttle the damn thing. I could certainly understand where Jim was coming from. Martin McKeand bought Jim Baker out and became managing director, and within two months of joining the company, I was already the second-in-line producer. The company changed its name to Brooks Fulford and it was decided henceforth to only call itself according to the directors it represented. So in ’73 when Ross Cramer joined, it changed name again to Brooks Fulford Cramer. (Ross had been Charles Saatchi’s partner in a creative consultancy called Cramer Saatchi, so when Ross left to become a director, and Charles’ brother Maurice joined the consultancy, it became

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