LOS ANGELES—British comedy director JJ Keith has signed with Los Angeles-based A Common Thread for exclusive representation for commercials in the United States. Keith, who has an Academy Award nomination as well as a slew of advertising awards to his credit, has earned high regard in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe for an inventive style of comedy that he has applied to such brands as Guinness, Subway, Coca-Cola, Land Rover, Vodafone and The BBC.
A Common Thread became interested in signing Keith through an Olympics campaign that he directed earlier this year for Shanghai agency BBH and Coca-Cola’s Ice Dew. The spot, in which pint-sized athletes attempt (but fail miserably) to compete with normal-size athletes, was short-listed at Cannes.
“JJ has a unique gift for comedy and we are thrilled to have an opportunity to introduce him to the U.S. market,” said A Common Thread executive producer J.P. McMahon. “We believe there will be a lot of demand for his brand of humor.”
Keith first gained notoriety for a series of comedy shorts that he directed after completing film school at Edinburgh University. One of them, Holiday Romance, earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Short Film (Live Action). He went onto direct for British television before focusing on advertising. Working principally in comedy, he has directed ads for brands as diverse as Wonderbra, Mars and British Telecom. He has won two Silvers at Cannes for work for Guinness and the business directory 118 118, along with honors from London International Advertising Awards, Eurobest, Creative Circle, The One Show and British Arrows.
Keith’s style is distinct yet versatile, showing a flare for the visual approach and subtly observed performance and comedy. “I view my best skills as casting and directing performance,” he said. “I enjoy combining humor with a stylistic element, whether that is a soundtrack or cinematic style. In that way, it’s not purely about performance and results in a fuller, more well-honed piece of film.”
A Common Thread is located at 4081 Redwood Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90066. For more information, call 310.823.7300 or visit http://www.acommonthread.tv