Sir Ridley Scott. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore
Sir Ridley Scott. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Before making his big break in Hollywood with the 1979 release of genre-defining sci-fi classic Alien, Sir Ridley Scott was an in-demand director responsible for shooting some of the 1970s’ most iconic adverts.

Defined as a time of exceptional creativity, TV advertising in the 1970s was judged on the strength of the writing and the ability of the photographer. While the UK ad industry was not in its infancy, commercial television had only begun with the launch of ITV in 1955. This meant in the early 1970s advertising was still going through an exciting period of change.

“It was very competitive and very creative; it was an exciting period for advertising. Probably the most exciting ever,” Scott recalls.

He describes the 1970s as the age of the copywriter and photographer. Looking back at that time of feisty copywriters and visually arresting creative, Collett Dickenson Pearce (CDP) stands out for Scott as the first really innovative agency in England, if not in Europe.

It was very competitive and very creative; it was an exciting period for advertising. Probably the most exciting ever.

Sir Ridley Scott

“CDP was the real creative melting pot of a lot of great copywriters and from that agency people would eventually spread out into their own agencies. It was definitely a golden age, it was very exciting time,” he recalls.

“Today I can’t say the copywriters have disappeared, it’s a different form of connection now….