Share

Director Kit Lynch-Robinson didn’t have the most traditional childhood. 

“I grew up in the countryside, where I generally ended up driving cars, trying to burn and blow stuff up, and then film it,” he laughs.

“I'd be hanging out of Land Rovers, towing boats behind cars and driving around fields and being a nuisance, but having a lot of fun. I had this quite bucolic, Swallows and Amazons mixed with a Top Gear type childhood.” It couldn’t be more apt.

Lynch-Robinson stretches the imagination of what a car commercial can be.

A third generation ad man – his father and grandfather both worked in the industry – Lynch-Robinson stretches the imagination of what a car commercial can be. Having produced work for the likes of Jaguar, Toyota, Skoda and Bentley, the London-based director moves with ease between comedy, action, and documentary to create visceral and captivating work.

Click image to enlarge
Above: Kit Lynch-Robinson on location. 


His directing career has taken him skydiving with Bear Grylls for Land Rover and traversing the globe with Amazon’s The Grand Tour. He’s also created more conventional spots, such as the launch film for the first ever re-design of the Bentley Continental [below].

Whether Lynch-Robinson is producing something raw, comedic or highly polished, he relishes the opportunity to take on complex ideas and turn them into engaging and heart-stopping moments.

What I love most is working on something that is difficult to work out and makes me think ‘how are we going to do this?

“I love anything that's got something I can get hold off in terms of, ‘how can we do this?’” he says. “Whether that's an aesthetic thing or whether it’s a technical thing, what I love most is working on something that is difficult to work out and makes me think ‘how are we going to do this? How can we push it? How can we make it better?’.

Lynch-Robinson began his career aged 18 when he started working as a runner at Arden Sutherland-Dodd, the production company set up by former Saatchi creative director Paul Arden, who passed away in 2008. He spent 18 months working on both commercials and film projects before striking out on his own as a freelancer.

I'm not a petrol head in the sense that I can tell you the cylinder size of a specific car, but the form and beauty of cars… there's just something so magical about driving.

“I kept myself as a runner because I was working on amazing projects with really good people,” he explains. “I was a really good runner at a high level and wasn’t trying to work my way up the ladder too quickly.”

Bentley – Launch Film

Credits
powered by Source

Unlock full credits and more with a Source membership.

Credits
powered by Source
Show full credits
Hide full credits
Credits powered by Source
Above: The launch film for the new Bentley Continental.


His first paid directing commission came at the age of 21 in the shape of a short online film for the Cuban Boys, which told the story of how the electro pop band was formed. “It was fun and it was the early days of the internet, when we had dial up, and it was a really interesting time because it was this brand new thing." 

The film set the tone for the next few years for Lynch-Robinson. “I was producing internet virals and basically alternating between running and directing. I was slowly trying to break away from PA-ing and pay my bills as a director.” 

It was four guys in a car and there was lots of stupidity and comedy banter. It made me realise that [by doing this] I get to work with cars, travel the world and have fun.

Some of that early work includes a viral for McAfee computer virus protection, and idents for Totesport bookmakers. Having fallen in love with cars at a young age, and with a passion for stunts, (he originally wanted to be a stuntman) it seemed a natural progression for Lynch-Robinson to enter the world of automotive content.

“I'm not a petrol head in the sense that I can tell you the cylinder size of a specific car, but the form and beauty of cars… there's just something so magical about driving and having a car. I just love that emotion and I try to bring that to the work that I do.”

Above: Lynch-Robinson's work on The Grand Tour includes directing three Jaguars 'skiing' down a mountain.

He got his start in the automotive industry making a series of 25 idents for Peugeot for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. The comedic spots saw an Englishman, an Irishman, a Scotsman and a Welshman taking a road trip from Paris to Marseilles. Shot in a raw-footage style mainly from the perspective of the backseat passengers, the experience cemented Lynch-Robinson’s love for the genre and his future path in the advertising world.

Some of Lynch-Robinson’s most memorable career moments stem from the Amazon series The Grand Tour, which follows presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May as they attempt a host of quirky challenges.

“It was four guys in a car and there was lots of stupidity and comedy banter. It made me realise that [by doing this] I get to work with cars, travel the world and have fun,” he says. “Without sounding too soppy, your job is a third of your life and you should be doing something that you love. With cars, I really believe in the product and I think that shows through in my commercial work. It really matters to me.” 

Employing a different set of creative skills, some of Lynch-Robinson’s most memorable career moments stem from the Amazon series The Grand Tour, which follows presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May as they attempt a host of quirky challenges, such as becoming special forces soldiers at a secret training base and going on the traditional gentleman's tour of Italy.

It’s hardcore and you do wonder if you can keep doing it, but then I would look around and realise where I was and what I was doing and it is truly incredible.

Lynch-Robinson was one of two main directors on the show, often pulling 12-hour filming days in remote locations. “Suddenly I was shooting the equivalent of five feature-length projects in a year and that's a phenomenal amount of work.

“When we were filming in Namibia there was about 40 people camped out for 10 to 12 days on the trot. I was dusty, hot, and having a pretty hard time working from 6am to 10pm; it’s hardcore and you do wonder if you can keep doing it, but then I would look around and realise where I was and what I was doing and it is truly incredible.” 

Ford – The Drop

Credits
powered by Source

Unlock full credits and more with a Source membership.

Credits powered by Source
Above: Lynch-Robinson's work for Ford Transit.


Working on The Grand Tour also allowed Lynch-Robinson more creative freedom; he wasn’t bound by the layers of client, agency and account management. “It's a lot more fluid. With commercials you've got lots of meetings where you nail stuff down, but on The Grand Tour you do sort of set things up but it can change in an instant and you've got to be able to cope with that,” he says.

The client is going to have to take some of the money from the traditional ‘winding road’ stuff and put it into more interesting content.

With 100 million viewers tuning in to the show world wide, the entertainment format is something he feels the advertising industry should take notice of. “Making something that so many people actually want to seek out and watch is something that advertising needs to learn from,” he says. “In this world of fragmented media, we need to start making commercials or ads that people seek out.

“It's going to take a bit of a change in thinking because the client is going to have to take some of the money from the traditional ‘winding road’ stuff and put it into more interesting content/entertainment formats and that's a difficulty for the industry and for advertising as a whole.”

With commercials you've got lots of meetings where you nail stuff down, but on The Grand Tour you do sort of set things up but it can change in an instant and you've got to be able to cope with that.

Lynch-Robinson attributes this to media companies not being able to make as much money out of those formats, and so they avoid advising clients to spend money in that way. “That said, I do think the grip of the media companies is maybe loosening at this time,” he adds.

Lexus – Pulse

Credits
powered by Source

Unlock full credits and more with a Source membership.

Credits
powered by Source
Show full credits
Hide full credits
Credits powered by Source
Above: Lynch-Robinson's work for Lexus, through new company, Outsider.


In that vein, Lynch-Robinson’s newest work for Lexus, his first since signing with production company Outsider earlier this year, was created with Instagram in mind. The series of short form ads are based around anamorphic objects or icons – a battery, a brain, a heart and the planet mars – that represent the different attributes of the Lexus hybrid range. 

The objects appear to be 3D until the camera angle pulls back and a Lexus car enters the frame, breaking the illusion and revealing it to be a flat image.

“We wanted them to feel like an interesting image to look at so that you might pause and suddenly realise you are watching a video and not looking at a still image. We want people to wonder if they’re looking at a drawing or a photograph or a sculpture.”

Whether it sits on TV, a catchup service, or Youtube or Instagram, I don't think it matters as long as it's good. The real trick is finding brave clients who trust the director and presenter to go and make something.

And so looking to the future of automotive advertising, Lynch-Robinson believes this will be tied to the future of cars themselves, whether that’s autonomous vehicles or subscription services to self-driving cars that roam about waiting for passengers. Though he concedes that is still “quite a long way off”.

“I think where we need to get to is what Budweiser used to do where you have the gratuitous beauty shots of the beer in one commercial and then the entertainment in another,” he says. “Whether it sits on TV, a catchup service, or Youtube or Instagram, I don't think it matters as long as it's good. The real trick is finding brave clients who trust the director and presenter to go and make something.

“At the end of the day cars are still lovely to photograph and it's fun to have people doing stuff in them in.”

Share