Stephen Hawking: How brands harnessed his star power

Editor News Make a Comment

Along with advancing our understanding of the cosmos and being feted by world leaders, Stephen Hawking also appeared in a number of ads over the years. Here’s a selection (curated by Campaign UK).

BT Keep Talking by Saatchi & Saatchi (1993): Hawking provided the voiceover in a BT ad promoting the concept that humanity’s greatest achievements have come about from the power of communication.

Specsavers Physicist by Specsavers (1999): This 60-second spot saw the Cambridge professor taking a fantastic journey around the solar system in a space ship. The craft soars past one planet and then another. A close-up of Saturn’s rings is accompanied by the physically disabled Hawking explaining how important having good vision is to him.

GoCompare Save the nation by Dare (2013): This ad depicts Hawking giving a lecture on how he has “finally calculated and formulised the exact conditions needed to generate a super massive black hole”. After an audience member asks what Hawking will do with his discovery, the ad cuts to Gio Compario being sucked into a black hole. Hawking said of the ad: “I confess I am a fan of the ads, but I am also an opera fan, so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to help save the nation and silence Gio. I hope the public find it as funny as I did.

Paddy Power Hawking Talking by Taylor Herring (2014): Few could have predicted that Hawking would ever lament the England football team’s failure to “hit a cow’s arse with a banjo” when it comes to penalties, as he did in a pre-World Cup viral campaign by Paddy Power. The bookmaker’s online ad showed the legendary theoretical physicist breaking down the statistics and revealing that the key to penalty-taking success is to “give it some welly”. Hawking also details the ideal conditions for English footballers (including 3pm kick-off times and sympathetic European referees) before revealing that he will be putting his money on Brazil to win this summer.

Jaguar F Pace The arrival by Spark 44 (2016): Hawking took to Facebook in 2016 to announce that he was playing the part of a villain in a new Jaguar ad. “You all know me as Professor Stephen Hawking, the physicist wrestling with the great concepts of time and space. But there is another side to me that you may not know: Stephen Hawking the actor,” Hawking posted. “I have always wanted to be in a movie playing the part of a typical British villain. And now, thanks to Jaguar my wish has come true.”

Gen-Pep Pep talk by Stephen Hawking by Forsman & Bodenfors (2017): Stephen Hawking appeared in a Swedish TV ad last year to build awareness about physical inactivity and its effect on public health. The work for Swedish health organisation Gen-Pep (Generation Pep) launched in November across TV, social media platforms and digital.

Source: Campaign UK

Share this Post