Blink (production company)

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Industry Advertising, Music Video, Animation, Interactive, Design, Fashion,
Founded 1985
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
James Studholme (Founder)
Michelle Jaffe
James Bland
Bart Yates
Divisions Blink Productions
Blink Art
Colonel Blimp
Blink Industries

Blink is a British production company and creative studio producing commercials, music videos, animations, art and fashion films.[1] It is composed of Blink Productions, BlinkInk, BlinkArt, Colonel Blimp, Major Tom and Blink Industries. The company's head offices are based in Soho, London. Blink is headed by managing director, James Studholme, and represents a total of 48 directors and artists across its five divisions.

Blink was named Production Company of the Year by Campaign Magazine in 2012[2] for the second consecutive year, having previously held the title in 2011 and 1997.[3] Blink was also chosen in 2011, 2014 and 2015 for the same accolade by Televisual Magazine.[4] In both 2013 and 2015, Blink was named Production Company of The Year at the British Arrow Awards, as well as a winning a total of 18 gold and silver awards for its commercials. Blink won the Grand Prix at Cannes Lions 2016 for Harvey Nichols' "Shoplifters", having won the Film Craft Grand Prix in 2015 for John Lewis "Monty's Christmas".


Blink is known for discovering and developing new creative talent,[5] and in the past has launched the careers of many successful directors. These include Ivan Zacharias, Doug Foster, Dominic Murphy, Kevin Thomas, Trevor Melvin, Dougal Wilson, Steve Reeves and Paul Gay. Blink's current roster of directors is drawn from a diverse range of backgrounds and many work across a variety of disciplines. The divisions are well integrated and collaborate frequently on productions falling outside of conventional television commercial production. James Studholme has said that in creating these subdivisions, Blink is well positioned to reach beyond the realm of traditional advertising and navigate the "uncharted terrain where brands and culture collide".[6] Blink's peers within the advertising industry have credited the company's success to a "clever diversity of a brand giving it greater longevity and taking full advantage of an expanding marketplace".[7]


Artist Bob Lawrie founded Blink in London in 1984 as a vehicle for his creative art and directing projects. Initially founded as an animation company doing TV program titles, Channel Idents and music promos. James Studholme joined in 1985 as producer. Blink branched out into live action in 1993 with a Red Stripe commercial for TV and cinema.[6] Studholme bought young directors Mike Bennion and Simon Fellows into Blink. In 2000 Bob Lawrie departed leaving James Studholme at the helm. Since 2004, Blink has launched four specialised sub-divisions in addition to its commercial production company, and currently operates as an all-encompassing creative studio producing commercials, animations, art, music videos and long form content.

In 2005, Blink extended their reach to the United States. James Studholme and Diane McArter (who previously founded Omaha Pictures) launched a new US production company, Furlined, as founding partners.[8] Several of Blink's directors are represented in the USA by Furlined, who have offices in Los Angeles and New York.

One of Blink's most memorable projects is Gorilla, a commercial directed by Juan Cabral for Cadbury. The advert first aired in 2007 and features an actor in a gorilla costume drumming to In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins. In its first week, the commercial was viewed over 500,000 times on YouTube and has received over 6 million views since then. Gorilla was voted ITV's favourite TV advert of 2007 and 5th best advert of the decade in an online poll by[9][10] It has also won numerous top advertising industry awards, such as the Film Grand Prix Lion at the Cannes Lions 2008, Gold at the British Television Advertising Awards (British Arrows) 2008 and Black and Yellow Pencils at the D&AD Awards 2008.[11][12][13]

Blink Productions[edit]

Blink Productions has been the advertising-focused division of Blink since the company's founding. Blink Productions currently represents 16 directors and produces high quality commercials with global reach. Some of the brands Blink has produced commercials for include Guinness, Cadbury's, Yorkie, Nokia, Mercedes, Whiskas, Volkswagen, Pot NoodleIkea, John Lewis, Channel 4 'Superhumans', Harvey Nichols and Virgin.

In 2010, Blink produced a commercial with agency Adam & Eve for John Lewis. The commercial was directed by Dougal Wilson and shows a woman ageing 70 years in 90 seconds, accompanied by Fyfe Dangerfield’s cover of Billy Joel's She's Always A Woman. The advert follows a woman through her life, from her birth through school, marriage, having children and becoming a grandmother. A key factor to the advert's popularity is its emotional impact on viewers. Craig Inglis, John Lewis' director of marketing, said "we have been overwhelmed by the volume of responses and how deeply it has affected people. The numerous letters and emails we have received...suggests we have captured the mood of the nation".[14] A week after the advert first aired on television, The Guardian newspaper reported that as a result of the advert's influence, a 39.7% increase in sales on John Lewis' website was reported.[15] To date, the advert has received over 1,000,000 total views on YouTube. The commercial won three Gold awards at the British Arrows in 2011.[16]

In 2011, Dougal Wilson repeated his success for John Lewis and Adam & Eve with The Long Wait, a commercial screened in the run-up to Christmas. The advert tells the story of a young boy counting down to Christmas Day, set to a cover of The SmithsPlease, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want by Slow Moving Millie. The advert was awarded 3rd place in Creativity Magazine's Best of 2011 TV[17] and it was watched over 4,000,000 times in total on YouTube[18] since it aired in November 2011. Since then Wilson has made several further films for John Lewis most notably, Christmas 2012's "Snowman", Christmas 2014's "Monty's Christmas", and in 2015, "Tiny Dancer". His most recent work includes "Superhumans" for Channel 4's Paralympics Rio 2016.

Colonel Blimp[edit]

Colonel Blimp was founded in 2006 as the music video production arm of Blink, and has since become one of the world's leading music video production companies. The company was named in homage to Powell and Pressburger's 1943 film The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. The division represents a roster of 19 directors and has produced music videos with international reach for artists such as Coldplay, The Streets, Björk, U2, Tinie Tempah, Kelly Rowland, Unkle, Professor Green and The Maccabees, incorporating both traditional and experimental filmmaking techniques.

In 2012, Colonel Blimp added several new directors to its roster, including acclaimed choreographer and director Trish Sie, who is known for her longstanding partnership with OK Go and is responsible for many of the band's most popular videos.


Blinkink was founded in 2004 to specialise in animation and mixed-media filmmaking. The division currently represents a roster of 18 directors drawn from a range of backgrounds.[19]


BlinkArt was founded in 2009 as Blink's non-traditional production arm, in response to the increasing desire of brands to interact with consumers through innovative methods.[20] Blink Art represents 11 artists creating work across several disciplines including print, installations and exhibitions. Some of BlinkArt's clients include Wallpaper Magazine, Wired Magazine, Dazed & Confused and MTV.

In 2012, BlinkArt was commissioned by advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi to create a monument representing the history of Guinness from 1759 to the present day. The sculpture was designed and directed by BlinkArt's David Wilson and consists of a carved wooden plinth and floating light sculpture suggesting the recognisable form of a dark pint of Guinness topped with white foam. A team of carpenters, illustrators, designers and artists spent a month creating the monument, which is on display at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Republic of Ireland.[21]


  1. ^ "Production Company of the Year: Blink". Brand Republic. London. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "Production Company of the Year: Blink". Campaign Live. London. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Production Company of the Year: Blink". Campaign Live. London. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Creamer, Jon (16 November 2011). "Blink Tops the Commercials 30 Poll". Televisual. London. Retrieved 1 March 2011. 
  5. ^ "James Studholme". Campaign Live. London. 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Hobson, Rebecca (21 October 2011). "London's Accidental Adman". London Loves Business. London. 
  7. ^ Creamer, Jon (November 2011). "Peer Poll Top 10". London. p. 7. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  8. ^ Pytlik, Mark (1 February 2006). "McArter and Studholme launch Furlined, celebrate Blink's banner year". Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  9. ^ Smithers, Rebecca (11 December 2007). "Beating the drum: Cadbury gorilla is voted favourite TV ad for 2007". Guardian News and Media. London. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "ITV Ad of The Decade". London. 20 December 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  11. ^ Williams, Eliza (22 June 2008). "Cannes Lions 2008 - The Winners". Creative Review. London. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "D&AD Awards 2008". Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "Gorilla". British Arrows Awards. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  14. ^ Franics, Nick (12 January 2011). "She’s Ad Us All In Tears". News Group Newspapers Limited. London. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  15. ^ Wiseman, Eva (2 May 2010). "John Lewis’ ‘spend it before you die’ ad puts sales up 40%". Guardian News and Media Limited. London. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  16. ^ "British Arrows Award Winners 2011". British Arrows. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  17. ^ "John Lewis: The Long Wait -- Best of 2011 TV #3". 14 November 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  18. ^ "John Lewis The Long Wait on". Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  19. ^ "BlinkInk directors list". Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "BlinkArt directors list". Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  21. ^ Williams, Eliza (18 September 2012). "Guinness: Made of More". Creative Review. London. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 

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